The UK has proposed controlling AI with a code of ethics Explore the latest strategic trends, research and analysis Science-fiction thrillers, like the 1980s classic film The Terminator, illuminate our imaginations, but they also stoke fears about autonomous, intelligent killer robots eradicating the human race.

SwissCognitiveAnd while this scenario might seem far-fetched, last year, over 100 robotics and artificial intelligence technology leaders, including Elon Musk and Google’s DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, issued a warning about the risks posed by super-intelligent machines.

In an open letter to the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the signatories said that once developed, killer robots – weapons designed to operate autonomously on the battlefield – “will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.” SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk signed an open letter on AI ethics The letter states: “These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

AI must be a force for good – and diversity

The first principle argues that AI should be developed for the common good and benefit of humanity. The report’s authors argue the United Kingdom must actively shape the development and utilisation of AI, and call for “a shared ethical AI framework” that provides clarity against how this technology can best be used to benefit individuals and society.

Intelligibility and fairness

The second principle demands that AI operates within parameters of intelligibility and fairness, and calls for companies and organisations to improve the intelligibility of their AI systems. Third, the report says artificial intelligence should not be used to diminish the data rights or privacy of individuals, families or communities. The fourth principle stipulates all people should have the right to be educated as well as be enabled to flourish mentally, emotionally and economically alongside artificial intelligence. For children, this means learning about using and working alongside AI from an early age. For adults, the report calls on government to invest in skills and training to negate the disruption caused by AI in the jobs market. Fifth, and aligning with concerns around killer robots, the report says the autonomous power to hurt, destroy or deceive human beings should never be vested in artificial intelligence.  […]