The Terminator Conundrum – Will AI Become The Ultimate Weapon Of Destruction?

These days arms race is starting to expand again. After the fall of USSR, a couple of decades passed with the biggest military powers staying on good terms one with another. The US were the ultimate player in the world, and the state of homeostasis lasted until the second half of the last decade.

When you have one power above them all, things are easy, simple, and far from escalating. On the other hand, ever yregime that doesn’t fit the US plans would end up being wiped from the face of the world. While the status quo we lived in until around ten years ago wasn’t perfect, especially for countries disagreeing with the neo liberal capitalism philosophy, in which small become slaves of the powerful, which happened all over the world, and is still happening, at least we were secure from someone launching another world war.

But, since 21st century begun, Russia got back and reinstalled itself as one of the world’s strongest military powers, China exploded with economic growth, and the country pumped tons of newly earned money into its army, so today we have a clash of three immensely powerful armies.

The new state of the world’s arms powers fired up lots of tensions. Instead of making weapons more powerful – it is unnecessary after all, all those nuclear missiles aren’t going anywhere and are great deterrents – the focus today is making them smarter. But, is placing an AI capable of making its own decisions really smart as it sounds? Well, some scientists think it might kill us all.

Professor Toby Walsh from UNSW’s School of Computer Science and Engineering is one of the scientists believing the arms race can give birth to the killing machine that could turn against us. He already spoke in front of the UN more than once, warning the world leaders that making military robots smarter can end it all.

And he’s not alone. “It’s not just me but thousands of my colleagues working in the area of robotics … and were very worried about the escalation of an arms race,” Walsh said. And he is right. The Pentagon set aside $18 billion for developing artificial intelligence. China announced last year the country has plans of constructing a cruise missile system that is semi-automatic, equipped with an AI system, and capable of finding targets all by itself. It was an answer to the US Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, also equipped with an AI system, making it semi-autonomous.

We already begun constructing an AI-equipped weapons, will we be foolish enough to give them complete autonomy. The Terminator Conundrum is the name of the problem. We must decide how much autonomy will be granted to the future killing machines, and we must make sure that no country makes completely autonomous military systems.

AI can be harvested for an immensely large number of good purposes, but giving it weapons isn’t one of them. As Walsh said, “It’s the same sort of technology that is going to go into autonomous cars which is going to be a good thing … but giving it the right to make life or death decisions (in the battlefield) is probably a bad idea.”

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