News & Opinion | July 24, 2018 9:45 am

Elon Musk Promises No Killer Robots, Leaves Out Important Detail

An Oxford academic says the idea robots might take over the world is a "distraction."

After tech titan Elon Musk joined the cofounders of Google’s artificial intelligence company and other top industry minds in signing a pledge to never build killer robots, one academic charges that the agreement has a major omission.

“It’s commendable — it’s a good initiative,” Dr. Mariarosaria Taddeo of the Oxford Internet Institute told Business Insider. “But I think they go in with too simplistic an approach.”

“It does not mention more imminent and impactful uses of AI in the context of international conflicts,” Taddeo said, calling the concept of killer robots taking over the world a “distraction.”

“AI at rest is basically able to defend the systems in which it is deployed, but also to autonomously target and respond to an attack that comes from another machine,” she said. “If you take this in the context of interstate conflict, this can cause a lot of damage. Hopefully, it will not lead to the killings of human beings, but it might easily cause conflict escalations [and] serious damage to national critical infrastructure.”