Tesla CEO Elon Musk and more than 100 artificial intelligence (AI) experts are warning of the dangers posed by autonomous weapon systems.

In a letter released by Australia’s University of New South Wales Monday, Musk and 115 other robotics and AI specialists called on the United Nations (UN) to take action against the weaponization of AI.

“Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the letter states. “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.”

The group, comprised of experts from 26 countries, also argued that time was running out to contain the advancement of “weapons of terror.”

“These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways,” the letter continued. “We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

Musk just last week took to Twitter to discuss the potential dangers of AI, calling the technology “vastly more risk than North Korea.”

The tech giant’s remarks came shortly after OpenAI, a nonprofit research company backed by Musk, used artificial intelligence to defeat players at a video game competition in Seattle.

“OpenAI first ever to defeat world’s best players in competitive eSports,” Musk tweeted. “Vastly more complex than traditional board games like chess.”

Musk also stressed the need for preemptive regulation on AI last month while speaking in Providence, Rhode Island, at the US National Governors Association summer meeting.

“Normally the way regulations are set up is when a bunch of bad things happen, there’s a public outcry, and after many years a regulatory agency is set up to regulate that industry,” Musk said. “It takes forever. That, in the past, has been bad but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization.”

The comments spurred Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who did not sign the Monday letter to the UN, to accuse Musk of drumming up “doomsday scenarios.”

“I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios — I just, I don’t understand it,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.”

“In the next five to 10 years, AI is going to deliver so many improvements in the quality of our lives.”

Musk responded by calling the Facebook co-founder’s understanding of the subject “limited.”

In 2015, Musk also joined 1,000 tech experts, including scientist Stephen Hawking and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, in signing a similar letter warning of autonomous weaponry.


Contact Mikael securely: keybase.io/mikaelthalen


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