Canadians are among the 270 engineers, computing and artificial intelligence experts, roboticists, and professionals from related disciplines who have signed an experts’ call to ban killer robots. The experts say “given the limitations and unknown future risks of autonomous robot weapons technology, we call for a prohibition on their development and deployment. Decisions about the application of violent force must not be delegated to machines.”
The International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) has thus far received 272 signatures from 37 countries on the statement which continues to collect signatures. In an announcement released today, Professor Noel Sharkey, Chair of ICRAC said “Governments need to listen to the experts’ warnings and work with us to tackle this challenge together before it is too late. It is urgent that international talks get started now to prevent the further development of autonomous robot weapons before it is too late.”
Canada does not currently have a policy on fully autonomous weapons and we hope that the government will engage these experts and others as they create the policy. We expect to see additional signatures from Canadian experts as this issue gains momentum. At present, the University of Toronto has the largest numbers of signatories but experts from other organizations and institutions still have time to sign the call. As the quote below from Geoffrey Hinton indicates now is the time to ensure that artificial intelligence and robotic technologies are used for the betterment of humanity.
“Artificial Intelligence can improve people’s lives in so many ways, but researchers need to push for positive applications of technology by supporting a ban on autonomous weapons systems.”
Geoffrey Hinton FRS, [founding father of modern machine learning] Raymond Reiter Distinguished Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Toronto.