Terrorists ‘certain’ to get killer robots, says defence giant.

If you didn’t already know it, you woke up today in a world where an organization called the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots really exists. While the name might conjure thoughts of tinfoil hats and secret meetings in the back of a comic book store, the organization is not only fronted by some well-known, widely respected researchers into AI and robotics, it also has a very serious mission.

The “killer robots” the group concerns itself with aren’t the Will Smith-esque world domination type, but rather the kind already put into use in military applications. The real concern is that terrorist groups will get their hands on the tech, replicate it in basically mass production-level numbers, and unleash deadly drones on unsuspecting cities.

Rogue states and terrorists will get their hands on lethal artificial intelligence "in the very near future", according to Alvin Wilby, vice-president of research at French defence giant Thales

Stark warning comes from Alvin Wilby, vice-president of research at French defence giant Thales.

Unmanned and deadly

Groups like IS already have drone technology, but the real fear for researchers is the unmanned, highly automated type that are yet to be deployed. At this time, whether criminal or sanctioned military, warfare drones have human operators at the remote control. In the cases of the military, that remote control might be so far removed from the location–think global distances rather than around the corner–but there is still a human decision to steer and deploy any weaponry.

Regulate

According to the group working against this kind of warfare, the only way to stop it is to put preemptive regulations in place. Considering the state of militarized robotics, including a failed attempt to establish a US service medal for drone operators and the newly recognized PTSD that is affecting these soldiers, it’s not something to be taken lightly.

Misguided “safety nets”

Currently, there are already some key regulations in place, but critics of these new concepts say they’re nothing more than misguided “safety nets” that will be unenforceable. That’s a safe assumption considering the fact there are already laws against terrorism.