There are plenty of jokes about how we might be headed towards a Terminator-like future, thanks to the work of researchers around the world who are trying to create AI smart enough to think for themselves. However as they say, jokes are usually based on truth and that truth could be getting closer.

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This is due to South Korean university, KAIST, who has recently launched what they are calling an AI weapons lab, prompting over 50 researchers from the AI field from around the world to announce that they will be boycotting the university henceforth. They will also no longer be hosting visitors from said university or cooperating with their research programs until they pledge to refrain from developing AI weapons without “meaningful human control”.

In a statement made by KAIST president Sung-Chul Shin to Britain’s Times Higher Education, he claims to be “saddened” by the boycott and states, “The centre aims to develop algorithms on efficient logistical systems, unmanned navigation (and an) aviation training system. KAIST will be responsible for educating the researchers and providing consultation.” He also denies that they have any intention of working on lethal autonomous weapons systems.

However according to the researchers, “If developed, autonomous weapons will … permit war to be fought faster and at a scale great than ever before. They will have the potential to be weapons of terror. We urge KAIST to follow this path, and work instead on uses of AI to improve and not harm human lives.”

These researchers aren’t alone in their concerns because several years ago, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk and the late Stephen Hawking have called for a ban on AI weapons.

Filed in General. Read more about AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Science.

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