Fears robots could be weaponized and become remote-control killing machines

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    A robotics company has promised not to weaponise their robots and are urging other companies to follow suit.

    One company, Boston Dynamics, which makes and designs robots, has raised concerns that weapons could be added to their robots which can be operated remotely or can even operate tasks by themselves.

    READ MORE: 'World's most advanced' humanoid robot eerily mimics researcher's facial expressions

    In a letter seen by axios.com, the company said: "We believe that adding weapons to robots that are remotely or autonomously operated, widely available to the public, and capable of navigating to previously inaccessible locations where people live and work, raises new risks of harm and serious ethical issues."

    The robot revolution appears to be finally in full swing, with a wide range of uses touted for them.

    However, there are concerns that some will look to turn robots designed to do good into killing machines.

    Boston Dynamics CEO Robert Playter said: "We are concerned about recent increases in makeshift efforts by individuals attempting to weaponize commercially available robots… For this technology to be broadly accepted throughout society, the public needs to know they can trust it. And that means we need policy that prohibits bad actors from misusing it."

    In an open letter to the robotics industry titled "General Purpose Robots Should Not Be Weaponized", Boston Dynamics said: "We believe that advanced mobile robots will provide great benefit to society as co-workers in industry and companions in our homes.

    "As with any new technology offering new capabilities, the emergence of advanced mobile robots offers the possibility of misuse. Untrustworthy people could use them to invade civil rights or to threaten, harm, or intimidate others. One area of particular concern is weaponization."

    It comes as some people have be found to be designing makeshift weapons that could be attached to commercially available robots, leading to potentially disastrous consequences.

    The company says it wants policy makers to promote the safe use of robots and to ensure that people do not modify robots at home with weapons and other dangerous add-ons.

    Despite the concerns, the company says: "We are convinced that the benefits for humanity of these technologies strongly outweigh the risk of misuse, and we are excited about a bright future in which humans and robots work side by side to tackle some of the world’s challenges."


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