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If Killer Robots Arrive, the Terminator Will Be the Least of Our Problems

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A Terminator robot, from the Terminator movie series.

University of California, Berkeley's Stuart Russell said, "Being attacked by an army of Terminators is a piece of cake when compared to being attacked by" autonomous weaponry.

Credit: Carolco Pictures

Experts warned of the threat of autonomous weaponry at last week's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"Being attacked by an army of Terminators is a piece of cake when compared to being attacked by this kind of weapon," said University of California, Berkeley's Stuart Russell. "We're [talking] about systems that weigh less than an ounce, that can fly faster than a person can run, can blow holes in their heads with one gram of shape-charge explosive, and can be launched in the millions."

Russell and the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation's Angela Kane said time is of the essence in preventing a global arms race toward autonomous weapons, with no more than two years given to address the issue. The concern is such weapons could become affordable and easily obtained, and Russell and Kane urged scientists, governments, and the artificial intelligence industry to convene quickly to determine what preventive steps can be taken.

Russell's Future of Life Institute is hoping a ban on autonomous weapons will stop the arms race, but Kane warned of a "glacial pace of international negotiations."

Meanwhile, BAE Systems chairman Roger Carr noted many politicians do not have a full understanding of how close autonomous weaponry is to becoming a reality.

From The Washington Post
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