Artificial Intelligence (AI) has great potential to benefit humanity in many ways, and that the goal of the field should be to do so. Autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms. Autonomous weapons select and engage targets without human intervention. Artificial Intelligence technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is feasible within years, not decades.
autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow. Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce. 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. Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group. A military AI arms race would not be beneficial for humanity.
Starting a military AI arms race is a bad idea, and should be prevented by a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control.
There has been so far 1850 signatories to an open letter calling for the ban on such weaponry. Stephen Hawkings, Noam Chomsky, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Google DeepMind chief executive Demis Hassabis.