Elon Musk is a brilliant innovator who is also equally brilliant at manipulating government guns to help him do what the free market would not allow him to do. While he is busy securing hundreds of millions of dollars of government subsidies, he’s also busy raising the specter of Skynet to attempt to scare government (this time the world government known as the UN) to ban “lethal autonomous weapons.” The media might couch this as a brave, brilliant man sounding a needed alarm, but I for one would call this alarmism aimed at shutting down current and potential future competitors.
A “ban” by the UN will effectively allow the state, which already has a monopoly on power, to go after any non-state actor that might be developing these tools, while it will do nothing to stop the ‘state’ from secretly continuing to develop these tools, to be used against other states, and even against their own ‘citizens.’
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk and 115 other tech leaders collectively announced Sunday they sent a letter to the United Nations asking it to ban “killer robots,” formally known as lethal autonomous weapons.
The coalition signed the open message to urge the international governing body to address the innate implications of such advanced technology, specifically its use on the battlefield, by effectively outlawing it.
“Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare. Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend,” the letter states, according to a press release issued by the Future of Life, an organization with Musk and famous astrophysicist Stephen Hawking as two of the several members of the board of advisers. “These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.”
Musk has expressed his dire concerns over artificial intelligence and robotics several times in recent months, despite developing and employing the technology for his self-driving cars.
“Musk of all people should know the future is always rife with uncertainty—after all, he helps construct it with each new revolutionary undertaking,” Ryan Hagemann, director of technology policy at the think tank the Niskanen Center, wrote in a blog post. “Imagine if there had been just a few additional regulatory barriers for SpaceX or Tesla to overcome.”
During a National Governors Association meeting in July, Musk described AI as the “biggest risk we face as a civilization.”
“Until people see robots going down the street killing people,” Musk said, “they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal.”
Musk said earlier in August that AI poses more of a risk than a nuclear weapon-armed North Korea.
Tech-focused groups have criticized Musk for his seemingly anti-AI position.
The Information, Technology, and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), for example, called the Tesla CEO an “alarmist” in 2015 for pledging $1 billion to prevent the proliferation of autonomous robots, adding that he and his ilk stoke fear about an upcoming artificial intelligence revolution.
Eric Lieberman Tesla CEO Elon Musk and 115 other tech leaders collectively announced Sunday they sent a letter to the United Nations asking it to ban “killer robots,” formally known as lethal autonomous weapons. The coalition signed the open message to urge the international governing body to addres…