The whole world got fully creeped out Tuesday when an open letter aimed at major world powers made the world fully aware that we’re not too far off from Artificial Intelligence killing machines.
The goal is to try to put together a treaty that prohibits the development of autonomous weapons which, according to the letter, would signal “the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.” Specifically, the letter is talking about weapons which kill based on pre-programmed characteristics and without any human operation while it’s live in the field. A Terminator robot would fit into that category, but the letter mentions AI armed quadcopters as a more likely scenario. A human-operated technology, like remote controlled drones, would not fit into this category.
The technology required to build these weapons is reachable with “within years, not decades.” the letter says. Once developed, an arms race between rivaling world nations would likely result in rapidly increasing sophistication, as would the cheap replication of this technology and distribution to terrorists and war lords. “Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group,” the letter says.
The letter was presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, Argentina, drafted by the Future of Life Institute, and signed by nearly 2,000 robotics and AI researchers, as well as thousands of others, as of the time this article was published. Among the most notable names signed to the letter were celebrated astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
But big fancy geniuses who get played by movie stars in their award winning biopics aren’t the only ones who signed the initiative. Among the many, many, many others who have so far put their name on a list which will ensure their destruction once the dust of the Great Robot Wars settles is one “Bill Stein, Cultivator of Cannabis.” Presumably because he knows that once AI learns the exquisite art of war, superior OG horticulture can’t be far behind and Stein will be out of a job.
We at Dabs Mag all pray that the AI arms race is indeed stopped before it starts, though we know that in the end, no matter what happens, most likely Wozniak and Musk’s precognition that human beings will all soon end up as robot pets is bound to come true.