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  • Jesus Arambula

The Beginning of Skynet?

Remember the Terminator movies? The plot for the Terminator is that there is going to be an artificial intelligence software called Skynet that will eventually turn on its human creators and wipe out most of humanity. This software began creating violent human-killing robots designed to target people and kill them. At the time, this idea of robots killing humans was definitely a thriller and a crazy idea that creations would turn on their creators. However, that plot could potentially become a reality soon in our world.

Recently, the US, Russia, and China have secretly created robots programmed to kill people. That'sThat's right! Many experts believe these military-grade machines have the potential to wipe out all of humanity if we are not careful. This warning arose after the United Nations disagreed on these Terminator-style hunting machines. And what's scarier is that these robots don't need any input from any users; they can detect, lockdown, and take down anyone by themselves!

What makes things worse is that among the three major powerful countries globally, other countries are investing billions to fund these advanced AI killing machines. And it's not just the world's superpowers investing their money on killer Wall-Es.

Last year, a kamikaze robot drone created by the Turkish government made the world's first autonomous kill on humans in Libya. This drone ""hunted down and remotely engaged"" Libyan General Khalifa Hafter'sHafter's retreating soldiers. The drone had an explosive charge attached to it, locked down on a single target, and exploded.

Experts in machine learning and AI say that because technology is advancing exponentially, we still don't know what these machines are capable of. If we don't consider all the possible dangers, we could hurt ourselves in the process. Machines making their own decisions doesn't sound too promising for our sake, especially when they get unpredictable and cause errors.

Experts also say that in the code, when dealing with algorithms, sometimes not even the programmer knows why something works or doesn't. So we may not always understand fully what the machine is capable of in the grand scheme of things. For now, governments are experimenting with simple explosives. If AI drones were to be armed with chemical or even nuclear weapons, the results could result in a full out armageddon.

Professor James Dawes of Macalester College warned the people about this type of technology. "It is a world where the sort of unavoidable algorithmic errors that plague even tech giants like Amazon and Google can now lead to the elimination of whole cities." Another college professor from MIT and co-founder of the Future of Life Institute, Max Tegmark, also gave his viewpoint regarding military weapons. "The technology is developing much faster than the military-political discussion," professor Tegmark told Wired, "And we're heading, by default, to the worst possible outcome."

As stated previously, the UN's ban on the Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) was a big discussion topic on last week's Convention On Certain Conventional Weapons. Many countries argued that LAWS should be restricted by a treaty like how landmines are restricted. Other nations, including the US, China, Russia, India, the United Kingdom, and Australia, believe that autonomous machines are necessary to avoid being at a disadvantage.

And these kamikaze drones aren't the only machines being developed currently. In Korea'sKorea's Demilitarized Zone, there have been a couple of AI weapons being tested, one of them a self-firing machine gun. Russia has been developing their new autonomous Checkmate stealth fighter: a warplane that can fly twice the speed of sound and hunt and lockdown on targets. China began developing a decade-old robot submarine created to track and destroy ships by itself. In addition, China also began developing an AI warship "armed with torpedoes."

Experts continued to argue that military leaders will not control these weapons if they get out of hand. What will become more deadly is when these weapons will eventually become as cheap as an AK-47. Professor Tegmark also commented on this topic with gangs, drug cartels, and other organized crime. "If you can buy 'slaughterbots' for the same price as an AK-47, that's much preferable for drug cartels because you're you're not going to get caught when you kill someone." As dark as that may seem, professor Tegmark is right; it is a lot more stealthy to get rid of people with a drone than a person with a gun.

Due to China and Russia'sRussia's previous plans in the arms race of the 20th century during the Cold War, the US has learned that there is no second place in this race. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has already begun testing drones and vehicles that can communicate with each other. The US Air Force is also researching how to replace human pilots with AI. This new race for the most killer robots has already begun. It's just a matter of time of when they will get out of control and whether or not it will be too late to stop them…

But what do you guys think? What do you believe that ''slaughterbots'' are capable of? What measures should the UN take to better regulate this new technology? Or should these weapons be banned altogether?


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