like the robots Boston Dynamics and similar companies are increasingly used, there are growing concerns about their misuse, in the name of evil. In an effort to prevent the spread of killer robots in society, a group of robot companies has issued an open letter promising not to use their machines as weapons and urging users to do the same.
The idea that autonomous machines can be armed and used to inflict damage is not new, but as our access to high-performance robots continues to improve, we are seeing these concerns being raised in a more mainstream area. We’ve seen leaders in artificial intelligence and robotics petitioned the UN to ban the development of these types of machines, and these moves continue to gain momentum as more companies and organizations contribute to the cause.
Last October Ghost Robotics demonstrated robot dog with a sniper rifle on the backside. in another video, which circulated on social media earlier this year, shows a four-legged robot with a machine gun firing at targets at a firing range. Questions remain about the accuracy of this second example, but the point remains: The vision of robotic dogs coupled with deadly weapons is a chilling glimpse into the future.
Ghost Robotics has introduced a mounted weapon from Sword Defense Systems for its Vision 60 robot. Photo: Sword Defense Systems.
Boston Dynamics together with Agility Robotics, ANYbotics, Boston Dynamics, Clearpath Robotics, open robotics and Unitre Robotics expressed concern about these possibilities. In an open letter to the industry, the group points to the growing affordability and availability of advanced commercial robots on the market, as well as the growing potential for abuse.
“Untrustworthy people can use them to violate civil rights or to threaten, harm or intimidate others.”says the letter. “One area of particular concern is armaments. We believe that the addition of weapons to robots that are remotely or autonomously controlled, broadly accessible to the public and able to travel to previously inaccessible places where people live and work, introduce new risks of harm and serious ethical issues with entails.”.
The letter pledges the group not to arm their robots or support others in doing so, and calls on policy makers and users to promote their safe use. It also includes a plan to carefully assess its customers’ intent for its products and work on technological solutions to reduce the risks of using robots as weapons.
A four-legged robot from Boston Dynamics named Spot. Photo: Boston Dynamics.
“We are convinced that the benefits of these technologies to humanity far outweigh the risks of misuse, and we look forward to a brighter future where humans and robots work side by side to solve some of the world’s problems .”says the letter.
Source: Boston Dynamics
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