Elon Musk tops petition to UN to ban ‘killer robots’

In Terminator, the popular film of James Cameron, the rebel John Connor faced an army of assassin robots that took control of the planet. That apocalyptic situation fit perfectly into the script of a science fiction movie, but no one really thought it could be considered in the future.

However, for a group of experts and business leaders from around the world, this is a very real possibility: 116 specialists in robotics and artificial intelligence have signed a letter to the United Nations, calling for a ban on the development of robots dedicated to war. The document is signed by, among others, Elon Musk – founder of Tesla and SpaceX – who already warned a month ago about the dangers to the civilization of artificial intelligence. Another signatory is Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind.

What the experts fear is an army of robots capable of starting a large-scale war in a few minutes, and capable of making decisions on the ground without receiving orders. Part of what could come is already being tested in the world’s major armies, where drones (unmanned aircraft) already fly over enemy terrain and can equip deadly weaponry. The US Navy, for example, will soon have its Sea Hunter, an unmanned ship with a long range that can be used to carry far attacks, eliminating the risk of casualties.

This group of experts wants to get ahead of the events, and get the international body to prohibit in advance the development of these robots or autonomous instruments of war, in the same way that the use of chemical weapons was banned in its day.

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