50 Robotics Experts Boycott University Over Plans To Build AI ‘Killer Robots’



Image via Usa-Pyon / Shutterstock.com

Robotics researchers around the world have called for the boycott of a South Korean university that started building AI-powered military weapons in February.

According to the Financial Times, about 50 prominent experts from almost 30 countries are vowing not to work with or host visitors from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and warn that the project might create killer robot armies.

In an open letter, the researchers wrote, “[W]e will boycott all collaborations with any part of KAIST until such time as the President of KAIST provides assurances, which we have sought but not received, that the Center will not develop autonomous weapons lacking meaningful human control.”

They add that should the academy continue with its plans, it could launch larger-scale wars that are fought faster.

KAIST is currently experimenting with AI-powered command-and-decision systems, navigation algorithms for underwater vehicles, smart aircraft training programs, and smart object tracking-and-recognition technology, at the Research Center for the Convergence of National Defense and Artificial Intelligence.

What’s really appalling robotics experts, however, is that the university has teamed up with South Korean arms company Hanwha Systems, a firm whose parent company has been blacklisted by the United Nations (UN) for developing “cluster munitions.”

Shin Sung-chul, President of KAIST, replied that he was “saddened” by these extreme reactions. He also affirmed that the arms were not intended for fulfilling malevolent goals.

“As an academic institution, we value human rights and ethical standards to a very high degree,” Shin said in a statement.

“KAIST will not conduct any research activities counter to human dignity, including autonomous weapons lacking meaningful human control.”

[via Engadget, cover image via Usa-Pyon / Shutterstock.com]

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