It looks like Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Russian President Vladimir Putin aren’t the only ones who’ve envisioned a nightmare scenario where “killer robots” stalk through neighborhoods murdering innocent Americans (or Russians).
A group of artificial intelligence researchers from nearly 30 countries is boycotting one of South Korea’s most prestigious universities over concerns about a recent partnership with an “ethically dubious” arms manufacturer with the stated purpose to design and manufacture “autonomous weapons systems”.
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and its partner, the weapons manufacturer Hanwha Systems, one of South Korea’s largest arms dealers, are pushing back against the boycott, saying they have no intention of developing “killer robots” – even though the description of the project clearly states its goals, per the Guardian.
“There are plenty of great things you can do with AI that save lives, including in a military context, but to openly declare the goal is to develop autonomous weapons and have a partner like this sparks huge concern,” said Toby Walsh, the organiser of the boycott and a professor at the University of New South Wales.
“This is a very respected university partnering with a very ethically dubious partner that continues to violate international norms.”
What’s worse, the scientists say, is Hanwha’s history of manufacturing and selling cluster munitions and other arms that are banned in more than 120 countries under an international treaty that South Korea, the US, Russia and China have not signed.