Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking: Of killer robots and moral cowards
WASHINGTON, July 28, 2015 – Sometimes I think people have lost their sense of irony, if not their minds. News reports say technology entrepreneur Elon Musk and renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking are among those who fear killer robots may be in our future and want to organize humanity against them.
News outlets did not say whether Hawking warned his fellow humans in his synthetic, robotic voice.
In an open letter released at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence assembled in Buenos Aires, Argentina, its signatories – which includes such luminaries as Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak – warned that “replacing human soldiers by machines” will “lower the threshold for going to battle” and “start a global AI [artificial intelligence] arms race… and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of the future.”
Ironically, the signatories went out of their way to say their concern did not extend to “cruise missiles or remotely piloted drones for which humans make all targeting decisions.”
The history of the last century is soaked in the blood of untold millions due to small groups of utopians’ making “all targeting decisions.”
In the 1930s, many feared technology would make the delivery of chemical weapons to civilian populations a near certainty if a second global war ever broke out. Instead, Hitler used his chemical weapons against a select enemy he hated more than those firebombing his cities – Jews. The Final Solution was a very human “targeting” decision.
“A single death is a tragedy,” said Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. “A million deaths is a statistic.”
Killer robots, say the deep thinkers assembled in Argentina, pose an even greater threat to humanity than nuclear weapons because the automatons “require no cost or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce.”
Notice how those that fear artificial intelligence lump the technologically advanced nations into one group: “All significant military powers.”
The letter’s signatories represent the best and brightest of academia and the tech industry. But it’s clear they sorely lack moral intelligence.
In fact, they are moral idiots.
Here’s a simple thought experiment. What do you fear more, a future filled with past-their-prime Arnold Schwarzenegger androids, or a real-world, nuclearized sponsor of international terrorism with a global reach, Iran?
Smart moral idiots fear soulless killer robots that do not exist. Men of character and moral intelligence, on the other hand, fear and, more important, oppose the perpetrators of far darker human evil.