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Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk call for more regulation on AI weapons

Artificial intelligence is the next step in the world of technology, but some of the leaders and speakers in the industry have asked for more oversight on weapons with AI.

Renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak have all spoken out in favour of more regulation on AI weapons. In the open letter posted on A Future For Life Institute, which Musk donated $10 million (£6.4 million) to see further research into AI, it asked for governments to not allow offensive weapons manufacturing that uses AI to pick out targets.

“AI technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is - practically if not legally - feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high,” said the group in the letter. “Autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.”

It is a worry shared by a lot of public speakers, who find the advancement in AI to be both a blessing and curse. The amount at stake when bad people gain access to these technologies, and enhance them to benefit their own cause, could be catastrophic.

We are already seeing a major shift in America on the subject of guns, following a wide series of mass shootings. This latest move would see both commercial weaponry and military grade robots and weapons banned or regulated in the future.

The Future of Life intends to present the open letter to the International Joint Conference in Buenos Aires this week. It will also pursue governments and other speakers to sign the letter, pushing the dangers of AI weapons into the mainstream.

Even though technology firms are looking to use AI for home and service means, not all companies are thinking for a brighter future. Having AI that can be dangerous to people is bound to happen, what The Future of Life wants is regulation, oversight and standards to make sure that the risk is reduced.