Boston Dynamics and different companies pen open letter towards weaponized robots

As robots from Boston Dynamics and the like proceed to search out extra widespread functions, issues are rising round their misuse. In a bid to forestall the unfold of killer robots in society, a bunch of robotics corporations have revealed an open letter pledging to not weaponize their machines, and pleading with customers to do the identical.

The concept autonomous machines may be weaponized and deployed to trigger hurt just isn’t new, however as our entry to extremely succesful robots continues to enhance we now have seen these issues raised in a extra mainstream sphere. We’ve seen leaders in AI and robotics petition the UN to ban the event of a lot of these machines, and these actions proceed to realize momentum as extra corporations and organizations lend their identify to the trigger.

In October final yr, Ghost Robotics confirmed off a robotic canine with a sniper rifle mounted on its again. One other video doing the rounds on social media earlier this yr confirmed a quadruped robotic carrying an assault rifle and firing at targets on the vary. Questions stay over the veracity of that second instance, however the level stays: imaginative and prescient of robotic canine mixed with lethal weapons is an unnerving glimpse into the longer term.

Boston Dynamics, along with Agility Robotics, ANYbotics, Boston Dynamics, Clearpath Robotics, Open Robotics and Unitree Robotics, have right now voiced their issues round these potentialities. In an open letter addressed to the business, the group notes the growing affordability and accessibility of superior commercially accessible robots, and the growing potential for his or her misuse.

“Untrustworthy folks may use them to invade civil rights or to threaten, hurt, or intimidate others,” the letter reads. “One space of explicit concern is weaponization. We consider that including weapons to robots which are remotely or autonomously operated, broadly accessible to the general public, and able to navigating to beforehand inaccessible areas the place folks stay and work, raises new dangers of hurt and severe moral points.”

The letter goes on to incorporate a pledge from the group to not weaponize their robots, nor help others to take action, and calls on policy-makers and customers to advertise their protected use. It additionally features a plan to diligently assess their prospects’ intentions for his or her merchandise and work on technological options to scale back the dangers of robotic weaponization.

“We’re satisfied that the advantages for humanity of those applied sciences strongly outweigh the chance of misuse, and we’re excited a couple of vibrant future during which people and robots work facet by facet to deal with among the world’s challenges,” the letter concludes.

Supply: Boston Dynamics

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