AI researchers oppose university's work on autonomous weapons

A group of researchers have concerns over the development of military weapons outfitted with AI.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
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Erin Carson

Researchers are worried about killer robots.

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It's a case of killer robot versus strongly worded letter.

A group of artificial intelligence researchers and engineers from the Centre on Impact of AI and Robotics released a letter Wednesday taking issue with a South Korean university for working with defense company Hanwha Systems on artificial intelligence for military weapons.

The letter described autonomous weapons a "Pandora's box" and called for a boycott of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

"They will permit war to be fought faster and at a scale greater than ever before. They have the potential to be weapons of terror. Despots and terrorists could use them against innocent populations, removing any ethical restraints," the letter, which has about 50 signatures, reads.

Meanwhile, KAIST's president Sung-Chul Shin said in a statement, "I would like to reaffirm that KAIST does not have any intention to engage in development of lethal autonomous weapons systems and killer robots."

KAIST, Hanwha and the Centre for Impact on AI and Robotics did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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