Google and The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

Google and its parent company Alphabet are starting to address some ethical concerns raised by the development of AI and machine learning, but have not taken a position on the unchecked use of autonomous AI in weapon systems.

Project Maven, a US military program that applies AI to drone surveillance videos for the purpose of detecting “objects of interest”, which are flagged for human analysts, raises ethical questions about the appropriate use of machine learning and AI for military purposes. The Campaign To Stop Killer Robots is concerned that the AI-driven identification of objects could quickly blur or move into AI-driven identification of ‘targets’ as a basis for the direction of lethal force. This could give machines the capacity to make a determination about what is a target, which would be an unacceptably broad use of the technology. Thus, the campaign is working to retain meaningful human control of the critical functions of identifying, selecting and engaging targets.

Google representatives are engaging in a dialogue with the Campaign To Stop Killer Robots and last month provided campaign coordinator Mary Wareham with a statement that says its work on Project Maven is “for non-offensive purposes and using open-source object recognition software available to any Google Cloud customer.”

Now, these and other technology companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Oracle, should publicly endorse the call to ban fully autonomous weapons and commit to never help develop these weapons. Doing so would support the rapidly-expanding international effort to ensure the decision to take human life is never delegated to a machine in warfare or in policing and other circumstances. In favor of this view, MDI has built AIWS 7-Layer Model with the goal is to advance the peaceful development of AI to improve the quality of life for all humanity. Insides, the first layer focuses on building the AI ethical framework applied in all areas, including the military. MDI and BGF called on world leaders to build AI Peace Treaty at BGF-G7 Summit Conference 2018 at Harvard University on April 25, 2018.


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