Laws Needed to Protect Ourselves from Drones

Artificial Intelligence (AI), the science behind the technology of drones needs to improve if we are to remain in control of the weapons used in war.

Raw Story reports:

Experts in artificial intelligence, lawyers and activists organized by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots gathered at the United Nations on Tuesday to warn against a growing reliance on cheap drones and “stupid AI” that can be unpredictable in the real world.

“Terminator always comes up,” Toby Walsh, a professor of artificial intelligence at the University of New South Wales, told reporters on Tuesday, referring to the sci-fi cyborg on a mission to wipe out mankind. “But it’s not really Terminator that we’re worried about at the moment. I think that Terminator is perhaps 50 or so years away.”

But there are concerning technologies “only a few years, at best, away,” Walsh said, and with semi-autonomous systems, such as drones, “it would take very little to remove the human from that loop and replace them with a computer.”

Walsh and other members of the campaign painted a dire picture of uninhibited artificial intelligence taking root on battlefields and national borders. Unlike those needed for nuclear weapons, they said, the resources to create “killer robots” will only become cheaper and more available over time. With an online-bought drone, a smartphone and the right software, anyone could create “a little killer robot,” Walsh added.

“If we don’t [create rules], we will end up in an arms race,” Walsh said, “and the endpoint of that arms race is going to be a very undesirable place.”

Peter Asaro, a professor at the New School in New York, noted that without a human in control, machines fail to take in the unpredictable variables and context of war: “what’s the context, what’s the situation, is the use of force appropriate in this context and this target, and you can automate it but can you automate it well, and who’s responsible when it doesn’t operate correctly.”

With the fear of out-of-control drones so great, experts are claiming that we need to come up with rules for maintaining and use of them.  Though the Pentagon promised to not use AI that is fully autonomous, there is no agreement in place to stop other countries from going that route.  Before this technology develops further, the world leaders need to come together and proactively create treaties that will protect everyone from drones taking over.