World leaders are becoming increasingly concerned.
A large meeting of experts at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland attempted to tackle one important question: whether killer robots will threaten us in the future.
The purpose of the forum is to talk about the future of business and technology, and this year leaders appear to be increasingly worried about a Terminator-like future, according to an Atlanta Journal Constitution report.
There was even a panel titled “What if: Robots Go to War?”
Obviously, militaries currently use drones to carry out air strikes on occasion, but that’s not what concerns experts. After all, drones are still simply vehicle controlled by a human. Instead, experts are concerned about growing autonomy and artificial intelligence, allowing robots to think and act on their own with only a general directive guiding them — a risky proposition indeed.
For one thing, it would do more to remove human beings from war and potentially desensitize people to killing other human beings, letting machines do the dirty work. Then there is the concern that autonomous machines would be so focused on a goal that it would take unethical means to accomplish it.
And this isn’t necessarily a far-off concer. The U.S., China, and Russia are currently building or attempting to build autonomous weapons, and once those are built, non-state groups will probably be able to get their hands on some as well.
Weaponization may not be the only risk. The World Economic Forum released a research paper recently that indicated 5 million jobs could be lost to automation, although they would also create 2 million jobs in other sectors, according to their estimates.