Ethics

‘Robot Ethics Charter’ drawn up — as report claims US at risk of losing AI arms race

ai arms race robot ethics charter
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An ethics charter has been drawn up to “regulate the relationship between humans and robots” as a report claims the US is at risk of losing the AI arms race.

Starting with the charter, Andrey Neznamov — head of Russian robot research centre, Robopravo — drew it up in response to fears machines possessing AI could lead to the “destruction of humanity” if they’re not sufficiently regulated.

To some, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, these fears are overblown and scaremongering. Other great minds, including Stephen Hawking and Tesla founder Elon Musk, believe it’s a very real possibility.

“I sincerely believe that technology will make the world better, just there is a certain stage when lawyers will have to intervene,” says Neznamov. “On the one hand, we cannot allow the laws to prevent the development of technology, and on the other hand, we must not allow the destruction of humanity, which may happen as a result.”

One example Neznamov provides is an AI which controls the energy infrastructure of a country. It may not have malicious intent, but a failure could mean bringing the power grid down.

Another often provided example is an AI used in a military capacity for automated defense. Whereas it could be designed for things such as intercepting missiles, it could instead decide to launch its own preemptive strike on another country is more likely to keep its own citizens safe while not considering the devastation such a decision would create.

Part of what could result in rushed and dangerous militarised AI is the latest ‘arms race’ between the historical rivals of the US, Russia, and China.

It’s now widely accepted that AI will be used for warfare as powerful nations battle for better capabilities than others. Sometimes this competition is good, and drives groundbreaking advancements — such as in the ‘space race’ — but experts are concerned AI will be more likened to the nuclear arms race.

Back in September, AI News reported Russian President Vladimir Putin said the nation which leads in AI “will become the ruler of the world.” Earlier this month, we reported that researchers have begun sending letters to their respective leaders calling for a global stand against AI militarisation.

Robert Work, a former deputy US secretary of defence, has warned the US military must now decide if it wants to “lead the coming revolution, or fall victim to it”, amid emerging challenges from China and Russia.

Russian state media have reported on the military developing automated drones, vehicles, robots, and cruise missiles. China, meanwhile, has published a road map with its national plan to prioritise AI and use it for defense purposes.

A copy of the aforementioned ‘Robot Ethics Charter’ can be found here, but please note it’s currently only available in Russian.

Are you concerned about AI’s use in a military capacity? Let us know in the comments.

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