http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/trudeau-government-pressured-to-lead-the-ban-on-killer-robots/article/518667

Trudeau government pressured to lead the ban on 'killer robots'

Posted Mar 30, 2018 by Karen Graham
The Trudeau government is facing pressure on several fronts to lead an international ban on the use of autonomous weapons, the so-called "killer robots" that some fear could result from artificial intelligence run amok.
Last year  robotics and AI entrepreneurs -- including SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and British astrophysicis...
Last year, robotics and AI entrepreneurs -- including SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking -- petitioned the United Nations to ban autonomous killer robots, warning that the digital-age weapons could be used against civilians
ISAAC LAWRENCE, AFP/File
The calls come as Canada wraps up the two-day G7 meeting it hosted in Montreal this week in which ministers from the world's leading economies pushed artificial intelligence (AI) as a means of kick-starting economic growth and jobs of the future. CTV News Canada noted the dark side of AI applications was largely ignored.
During the meeting, employment and innovation ministers discussed how governments can help companies take part in digital transformation and the future digital economy.
At the conclusion of the G7 meeting, the ministers were in agreement in supporting a vision for AI technologies, with plans to hold a conference on the subject in Canada this fall to launch the G7 "Future of Work Forum."
However, Paul Hannon, the lead Canadian on the International Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, launched on April 23, 2013, points out that the economic gains to be realized through the use of artificial intelligence will be undermined if we ignore the threats posed by autonomous weapons.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Terminator" movies popularised the idea that AI and killer r...
Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Terminator" movies popularised the idea that AI and killer robots could lead to the end of humans
Robert Mora, Getty/AFP/File
Hannon is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to use his presidency of the G7 to push for a treaty that would ban the use of autonomous weapons before they are ever developed. The request comes before the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva, to be held in April.
Representatives from 80 member-states are expected to attend where they will discuss concerns over lethal autonomous weapons systems, also known as fully autonomous weapons or “killer robots.”
"I'm hoping that these discussions in the UN will push Canada to have a national policy. And that national policy should bring in all the experts, stakeholders, and relevant departments so we have a full understanding," Hannon said Thursday. "It's important that the G7 recognizes that as well as all the positive things they are expecting, there are possibilities for bad things to happen."
Elon Musk is leading demands for a global ban on killer robots  warning technological advances could...
Elon Musk is leading demands for a global ban on killer robots, warning technological advances could revolutionise warfare and create new "weapons of terror" that target innocent victims.
Brendan Smialowski, AFP
Canada's AI experts send a letter to Trudeau
In November 2017, Canadian AI experts and researchers wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to lead an international ban on lethal autonomous weapons that have no meaningful human control.
"As many of the world's top AI and robotics corporations -- including Canadian companies -- have recently urged, autonomous weapon systems threaten to become the third revolution in warfare," said the letter to Trudeau, signed by 200 AI innovators. "The deadly consequence of this is that machines -- not people -- will determine who lives and dies."
Two of the letter's signers are well known and widely regarded as two of the world's leaders in AI - Yoshua Bengio, the Canada Research Chair in statistical learning algorithms at the University of Montreal, and Geoffrey Hinton, the Toronto-based engineering fellow at the Google Brain Team and the chief scientific adviser of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
The "Campaign to Stop Killer Robots" was launched in London in 2013
The "Campaign to Stop Killer Robots" was launched in London in 2013
Carl Court, AFP
The two men and other leaders in AI technology are one of the reasons Trudeau wants to make Canada a leader in AI, but he has continued to shy away from the dark side of the technology, even though it is being discussed worldwide.
Hannon and the innovator's letter to Trudeau noted that Canada needs to show the same high-profile global leadership it displayed two decades ago in pushing for the treaty that eventually banned anti-personnel landmines. "Canada is still seen as an honest broker, as a country that others can trust," said Hannon. "They could play an important role in getting these issues on the table, and getting past the platitudes and simplistic statements."
Stephen Hawking (pictured delivering a lecture in Beijing in 2002) had millions of fans in China
Stephen Hawking (pictured delivering a lecture in Beijing in 2002) had millions of fans in China
, AFP/File
Dr. Stephen Hawking was a brilliant physicist and cosmologist, He helped us to understand the universe and brought insights from science to all of mankind. He also expressed serious concern over the advances being made in artificial intelligence.
Last year, Hawking wrote: “I am an optimist” in that “I believe that we can create AI for the good of the world.” However, he affirmed the need to “be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management, and prepare for its consequences well in advance.”