Thousands of Leading AI Researchers Sign Pledge Against Lethal Robots

Elon Musk and Google promise not to build AI weapons

More than 2,400 individuals and 150 companies from 90 different countries vowed to play no part in the construction, trade, or use of autonomous weapons in a pledge signed on Wednesday at the 2018 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Stockholm, Sweden.

Hundreds of organisations and thousands of techies, including Elon Musk, Demis Hassabis from Google's DeepMind, and the head of the Chocolate Factory's AI lab Jeff Dean have promised never to support the development of autonomous weapons. It adds that those who sign agree that "the decision to take a human life should never be delegated to a machine".

The pledge was facilitated by The Future of Life Institute, which is a Cambridge-based nonprofit dedicated to ensuring the regulation of risky AI technologies.

"I'm excited to see AI leaders shifting from talk to action, implementing a policy that politicians have thus far failed to put into effect", Future of Life Institute President Max Tegmark said in a statement.

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In an global joint conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), Elon Musk, three co-founders of Google AI subsidiary, and a few experts in AI have signed a pledge to never build or be a part of "lethal autonomous weapons".

The promise is based on a "moral component" that machines should be forbidden from making "life-taking decisions". There is also a powerful pragmatic argument: "lethal autonomous weapons, selecting and engaging targets without human intervention, would be dangerously destabilizing for every country and individual".

Some 26 countries in the United Nations have explicitly endorsed the call for a ban on lethal autonomous weapon systems, including Austria and China.

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