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AI in conflict: Cyber war and robot soldiers

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AI in conflict: Cyber war and robot soldiers

Humanoid social robot Sophia can hold a simple conversation
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Artificial intelligence in conflict--from robot soldiers to cyber warfare, what will it look like?

The use of robots and artificial intelligence within the military might make the whole world more unstable.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen Former NATO Secretary General

It's a question that was under discussion as this year's Munich Security Conference kicked off on Friday (February 16).

Leading the debate, Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid. Her country was the victim of a massive hacking attack that was widely blamed on Russia.

“I have been really worried as an Estonian--Estonia is a digital state compared to many others--that our capacity to internationally agree and regulate for technological development has been extremely low," Kaljulaid told euronews. "We haven’t managed to do any progress, for example, even on cyber issues”.

Members of the public present in the audience said they are worried about robot soldiers, and self-piloted weaponised drones.

NATO's former Secretary General Anders Fogh Rassmussen said it's a legitimate concern: 

“The use of robots and artificial intelligence within the military might make the whole world more unstable. For that reason, I think we should elaborate an international and legally binding treaty to prohibit the production and use of what has been called autonomous lethal weapons". 

In an open letter to the UN last year, Robotics experts also called for a ban on developing so-called "killer robots" and warned of a new arms race.

Earlier this week, the US Director of National Intelligence published the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, which expressed concern about the "potential for surprise" in the cyber realm.