Synonyms:
Lethal autonomous weapons, Lethal autonomous weapon systems

What are killer robots?

Killer robots is a term that describes lethal autonomous weapons systems (L.A.W.S.).

It refers to a special class of weapon systems that use sensor suites and computer algorithms to independently identify a target and employ an onboard weapon system to engage and destroy the target, without manual human control of the system.

Take killer drone attacks: this is one step further than regular drone strikes, which dissociate the attacker from the target by the sheer distance. In the case of killer robots. When such drones operate autonomously, even the long-distance control over the drone is relinquished to a machine.

See also: The Campaign To Stop Killer Robots.

THE AI ARMS RACE

The US, China, Russia and the UK have refused to sign a treaty stopping the proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons systems.

Killer robots: COMPANIES TO WATCH AND LEGISLATE

About 30 companies are developing lethal autonomous weapons systems:
– Boeing
– Lockheed Martin
– Hyundai (acquired Boston Dynamics)
– Arm Holdings

Chip maker Nvidia belongs to the Leaderboard. Nvidia in September agreed to buy Arm Holdings from Softbank for $40 billion.

Video

A new generation of tiny, agile drones look, act and maneuver like actual insects allowing them to operate in cramped spaces and withstand collisions.

Such insect-like robots could act in swarms. Coordinated swarm attacks require advanced artificial intelligence to be in place, most prominently visual object recognition and facial recognition.

Try and stop a swarm of miniscule robo-insects.

What’s next

Killer robots on the loose.
Just a toy? Once autonomous, they are L.A.W.S.

ASIMOV’S FIRST RULE OF ROBOTICS

A robot cannot harm humans or allow humans to be harmed by its inaction.

Isaac Asimov was an influential American science fiction writer, but the rules he formulated in a 1942 short story are still influential in the discussion on responsible AI.

See also Artificial intelligence in a nutshell, Unsupervised vs supervised AI, General AI.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

United Nations: “Lethal autonomous weapons — machines with the power to kill on their own, without human judgment and accountability — are bringing us into unacceptable moral and political territory.”
Antonio Guterres in 2020—
United Nation Secretary-General