That’s the Journal’s survival solution: just close the door.
Robots may enslave us all someday. In the meantime, if one of them goes berserk, here’s a useful tactic: Shut the door behind you.
One after another, robots in a government-sponsored contest were stumped by an unlocked door that blocked their path at an outdoor obstacle course. One bipedal machine managed to wrap a claw around the door handle and open it but was flummoxed by a breeze that kept blowing the door shut before it could pass through.
There are, now, plenty of machines that could simple roll or blast through the door. And the drawing board is filled with many that don’t walk, crawl, or roll anyway. The most terrifying of the lot may be a far cry from the hunter-killers of sci-fi infamy. Imagine a plague of robo insects or viruses.
And the time to imagine (and ACT) is now, says the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots (where do I join?).
Video by Guardian News/YouTube.
The movie portrays a brutal future. A military firm unveils a tiny drone that hunts and kills with ruthless efficiency. But when the technology falls into the wrong hands, no one is safe. Politicians are cut down in broad daylight. The machines descend on a lecture hall and spot activists, who are swiftly dispatched with an explosive to the head.
The short, disturbing film is the latest attempt by campaigners and concerned scientists to highlight the dangers of developing autonomous weapons that can find, track and fire on targets without human supervision. They warn that a preemptive ban on the technology is urgently needed to prevent terrible new weapons of mass destruction.
Stuart Russell, a leading AI scientist at the University of California in Berkeley, and others will show the film on Monday during an event at the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons hosted by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. The manufacture and use of autonomous weapons, such as drones, tanks and automated machine guns, would be devastating for human security and freedom, and the window to halt their development is closing fast, Russell warned.
“The technology illustrated in the film is simply an integration of existing capabilities. It is not science fiction. In fact, it is easier to achieve than self-driving cars, which require far higher standards of performance,” Russell said.
It all started in 1979 when an Ohio vending machine “accidentally” fell over on a man, crushing him. Yesterday it was soda drinkers. Tomorrow it could be anyone, or everyone.
And you thought the student loans were a problem.