Boston Dynamics and others promise not to make war robots

As the robots made by Boston Dynamics and similar companies continue to expand their applications, concerns about their misuse are growing. To prevent the emergence of killer robots, some robotics companies have published an open letter pledging not to weaponize robots and imploring users not to do the same.

In October last year, Ghost Robotics showed a robot dog with a sniper gun mounted on its back. Another video circulated on social media earlier this year showed a quadruped robot carrying an assault rifle and firing at a target on a range. The combination of robots and lethal weapons is disturbing.

Boston Dynamics, along with Agility Robotics, ANYbotics, Boston Dynamics, Clearpath Robotics, Open Robotics, and Unitree Robotics, expressed their concerns about these possibilities today. In an open letter to the industry, the group noted that advanced commercial robots are becoming more affordable and accessible, as well as their potential for abuse.

The letter reads: “They can be used by untrustworthy individuals to violate civil rights or to threaten, harm, or intimidate others. One area of ​​particular concern is weaponization. We believe that adding weapons to remotely or autonomously Widely available to the public and able to navigate previously inaccessible places where people live and work presents new risks of harm and serious ethical issues.”

In the letter, the group pledged not to weaponize its robots or support others to do so and called on policymakers and users to promote their safe use. The letter also lays out a plan to assess customer intent for its products and work on technological solutions to reduce the risk of robotic weaponization.

"We believe that the benefits of these technologies to humans greatly outweigh the risks of misuse, and we are excited about a bright future in which humans and robots work side-by-side to solve some of the world's challenges," the letter concluded.

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