Viral Killer Drones Video Gives Humanity a Dire Look at the Misuse of AI

By Colin Fredericson

A video on killer drones called “Slaughterbots” is going viral with a look at the dire reality of automated warfare based on artificial intelligence (AI), Fox News reported.

The video shows killer drones armed with explosives attacking civilians. It also shows the dark future of a world full of killer robots that use AI to pursue their targets. The video is meant to be a warning about such weapons, and to raise awareness about the dangers inherent in their development.

The video was presented at the U.N. Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons by a collaboration between University of California—Berkeley professor Stuart Russell and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots according to the Mercury News as reported by Fox. The video was posted online Nov. 12 and has over 1.3 million YouTube views.

The video stresses how the drones use AI to make their own decisions, and how that leads to danger. The video also declares nuclear weapons to be the past while killer drones are the future of warfare. The video presents a glimpse of a future where such machines are already in use and are a danger to our security and freedom.

A scary segment depicts drones attacking a college classroom, with students diving between desks to avoid doom. The clip emphasizes how drone attacks would severely limit any measures of safety now in place. The video dramatizes the message experts like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and others have been trying to push—that AI can quickly grow out of control faster than people think or be used for sinister purposes.

At the end of the video, professor Russell says viewers should not take what they have just watched as fantasy.

“This short film is more than just speculation. It shows the results of integrating and militarizing technologies that we already have,” says Russell. “We have an opportunity to prevent the future you just saw, but the window to act is closing fast.”

Russel wrote the textbook “Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach.” According to his UC Berkeley profile “His research covers a wide range of topics in artificial intelligence including machine learning, probabilistic reasoning, knowledge representation, planning, real-time decision making, multitarget tracking, computer vision, computational physiology, global seismic monitoring, and philosophical foundations.”

The Future of Life Institute, the organization that helped get the video out to the public, is funded by leading AI researchers Elon Musk and Bill Gates. Musk joined a meeting of U.S. governors this summer and stated that AI is a “fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization,” according to CNBC.

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