Development Of Artificial Intelligence Weapons Fraught With Danger?

In I, Robot (film), Will Smith made us tremble with some insights into how detrimental Artificial Intelligence can be.

Sure, it is the best thing that has happened to human-kind. But if the humans don’t control their greed for turning Artificial Intelligence into autonomous weapons, we’ll have trouble at our hands.


Picture Courtesy Of Unsplash

Taking Lessons From The Past

Before the advent of Industrialisation, that started in Great Britain in the late 1700s, manufacturing was done in homes. However, with the invention of modern machines that spurred the “Industrial Revolution”, landless people had to give up their autonomous business. As a result, they became daily-wage labourers in factories and industries.

With the modern machines, the perfidious “Bourgeoisie” class, in cahoots with imperial England, hegemonised their own countrymen – the “Proletariats”.  Unfortunately, they did not limit their greed to their own country. Having an advantage of having world-class machines, they also wreaked a havoc in faraway lands of Africa, South-East Asia and India. They subjected these countries to brutality and marauded them in the name of colonialism.

If those machines, that were controlled (and misused) by the man, turned out to be so damaging to the mankind, one cannot even begin to fathom the devastation that Artificial Intelligence, the intelligent autonomous machines that work and act like humans, can cause.

It’s likely that only a few dominant and resourceful nations will hold the reins of AI-based technology. After all, it has always been the way of the world. And the rest will end up playing the second fiddle. Russia’s Vladimir Putin’s own words suggested the same, quoting, “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere (AI and Machine Learning) will become the ruler of the world. 

Artificial Intelligence-Based Weapons May Upend The Human Race More Than Nukes Have

Since its inception, when the US set up the Manhattan project to develop first nuclear weapons in 1942 followed by the brazen and catastrophic devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki of Japan, nuclear weapons have caused unparalleled carnage.

nuclear weapons
Picture Courtesy Of Unsplash

Ironically, the same US who instigated the use of Nuclear weaponry in war is now the biggest votary of complete nuclear disarmament. And it is for everyone to see how it is fighting tooth and nails to impose sanctions on every nation who has the temerity to set up nuclear development plants.

It is not so hard to predict that the future of Artificial Intelligence will not be any less damaging. It has the beginning of the same future. Now, even though we cannot conflate AI based weapons with nuclear weapons. In fact, unlike nuclear weapons, the threat of AI does not seem glaringly obvious. However, one cannot deny that they can revolutionise war as much as nukes, if not more.

In a recent, bizarre incident, Facebook had to shut down their AI systems after chatbots started speaking in their own language-defying the codes provided. Facebook soon shut them off after predicting them to be the harbinger of a difficult situation.

There are plenty of great things you can do with AI that save lives, including in a military context, but to openly declare the goal is to develop autonomous weapons sparks huge concern,” Toby Walsh,  a veteran professor at the University of New South Wales made a prescient observation.

United Nations Must Spearhead A Ban Against Autonomous Weapons:

AI-based weapons such as killer robots will overlook humanitarianism and will not have any control over their destructive capabilities.

Last year, a group of world’s leading technology leaders, driven by Tesla Chief Elon Musk, published an open letter urging United Nation. The letter urged the UN to take urgent decisive measures to curb the use of AI in making autonomous weapons.

Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the message behind the letter is salient.

It further stated that “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.”

We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close”. This statement from the letter is enough to ring alarm bells.

Now when Elon Musk says something, you gotta listen.

Total cooperation and mutual restraint are crucial to divert the world from conflicts. UN must start working on negotiations to stop the development of such weapons before the proverbial bird eats the harvest.

We Can Use Artificial Intelligence For The Progress Of Human-Race:

It is no mystery that AI can be revolutionary and ease the way of human-life like nothing before. 

But there’s a catch – We have to work towards alleviating the possible negative effects. If we somehow achieve this, Artificial Intelligence can reshape human-race and used for the upliftment of humanity.

Here are some factors that are reaping immense benefits from Artificial Intelligence:

  1. Tesla’s autopilot, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and more, are a few classic examples of how the proper use of Artificial Intelligence can ease the life of humans.
  2. Major healthcare companies are now investing heavily in the development of AI. It will turn out to be a great boon in the healthcare industry, social life and more.
  3. Artificial Intelligence has already proved its mettle in fields such as smart cars. It is further used to bring about a revolution in the field of electric vehicles. It is sure to mitigate our reliance on oil and petroleum.
  4. With capabilities such as fraud detection, purchase prediction, stock-market forecasting, it is improving the financial aspect of the human race as well.
  5. Furthermore, nowadays Artificial Intelligence is being widely used to counter rampant terrorism.

How Is Artificial Intelligence Fighting terrorism?

  • Government bodies are leveraging the ingenuity of AI-based mechanisms to build wonderful machinery.
  • AI-based innovative cameras can track suspects.
  • Its image matching algorithms can easily match suspects on user-uploaded photos and videos with publically known terrorist faces.
  • Furthermore, intelligent sensors read the iris of every traveller which helps in avoiding false identities. 

Parting Words…

It’s up to the human race to espouse the use of AI for progressive things. Humans should avoid wielding it as a sword to develop the weapons of mass destruction. The man must not find success in building an army of Artificial Intelligence-based killer robots. Otherwise, the transition will be slow but catastrophic.

Man’s thirst to acquire power, to control the nature reminds me of a prose by Jawaharlal Nehru from “Glimpses of World History”, “If the man wants to control the nature, he must first learn to control himself.” 

What do you think?

Written by SocialWhir


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