Scientists who build artificial intelligence and autonomous systems need a strong ethical understanding of the impact their work could have.
More than 100 technology pioneers recently published an open letter to the United Nations on the topic of lethal autonomous weapons, or “killer robots”.
These people, including the entrepreneur Elon Musk and the founders of several robotics companies, are part of an effort that began in 2015. The original letter called for an end to an arms race that it claimed could be the “third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms”.
The UN has a role to play, but responsibility for the future of these systems needs to begin in the lab. The education system that trains our AI researchers needs to school them in ethics as well as coding.
Autonomous systems can make decisions for themselves, with little input from humans.