Hundreds of artificial intelligence experts and revered thinkers, including Professor Stephen Hawking and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, are calling for a global ban on Artificial Intelligent (AI) military robots.
Killer robots might seem like a plot point from a summer blockbuster, but they have warned that weapons powered entirely by AI could be here in the very near future.
Astrophysicist Hawking, Tesla cofounder Musk, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak and more than 1,000 others have signed a letter warning of the threat posed by autonomous weapons, reports the Huffington Post.
"If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow," the letter from the Future of Life Institute warns.
These weapons will ultimately become so "ubiquitous and cheap" that "it will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc."
The letter was released on Monday at the International Joint Conference On Artificial Intelligence held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Hawking warned last year that the "development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race." Musk has also repeatedly railed against the dangers of AI, comparing it to "summoning the demon," and saying the technology is "potentially more dangerous than nukes."
Earlier this year, Wozniak said he was worried about the role of man in a future dominated by artificial intelligence.
"Will we be the gods? Will we be the family pets? Or will we be ants that get stepped on? I don't know about that," Wozniak told The Australian Financial Review in March.