Does the UN fear The Terminator?

By Simon Moss, Associate Director & Head of Business Development

Let’s face it, though artificial intelligence is doubtlessly growing as a news item – particularly with the damning prospects of machines taking over our jobs – what most of us still think of is the Terminator.

Yes, those of us in B2B technology view it analytically in the manufacturing or in automotive industries, but that nagging doubt that Skynet may betray us all continues to dominate.

It seems that the UN, too, shares this general dread. It was recently announced that over 100 nations that are part of the international Convention on Conventional Weapons will gather in 2017 to deal with the “challenges” that re raise by the prospect of weapons systems that can select and attack targets without any real human control.

As quoted in the Daily Mail, Steve Goose, arms director of Human Rights Watch, co-founder of the appropriately named Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, said: “Once these weapons exist, there will be no stopping them. The time to act on a pre-emptive ban is now.”

Talks are pencilled in for April or August – and Whiteoaks will be watching with interest.

There has been some truly interesting news coverage on AI in recent months, with a government select committee recommending the establishment of a commission to look at the “huge potential” robotics and AI could have on the workforce at large.

Think tanks, too, have added their weight to the argument and most seem to agree – the time to act is now.

We have written extensively on AI on the Whiteoaks blog, from chatbots that can be easily corrupted to the ability to identify criminals through the shape of their lips.

It may sound crazy to the casual reader, but what this latest story shows us is that artificial intelligence is a growing concern at the very top of global governance.

Let’s hope 2017 throws up just as many interesting stories!

Until then, have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.