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Hawkings, Musk and Wozniak warn against the killer robots.

An Open Letter to Ban “Killer Robots”

No, this isn’t the interlude for the latest sci-fi franchise starring Will Smith. This is an actual feasible reality of what the future of warfare could look like.

 Over 1,000 artificial intelligence experts have signed an open letter warning of the potential dangers of military artificial intelligence weaponry, or “Killer Robots”. Professor Stephen Hawkings, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Elon Musk of Teslar are amongst the high-profile figures calling for a ban on “autonomous weapons” which could select targets and operate independently.

The letter, which was presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, describes AI armed forces as the “third revolution in warfare, after gunpower and nuclear arms.” The experts claim that AI technology could create a global arms race and pose a threat far greater than nuclear weapons. The technology wouldn’t require costly materials and could easily be adopted by every national military power.


The legality of AI weaponry must be called into question, in what Musk and Hawking have called “our biggest existential threat”. Innovations in drone planes that could kill people using a face-recognition algorithm –previously considered sci-fi fantasy – are only a matter of years, and not decades away, the letter warns.

Previous developments in artificial intelligence have prompted claims from Hawking and co over whether autonomous robots can be controlled to service the human race, rather than destroy it.

By Trudie Carter

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