Open letter vows not to arm robots

Open letter vows not to arm robots

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Robots are great tools that can keep people safe, enrich their lives, and help companies overcome operational challenges. In the past few months, unfortunately, there have been a number of viral videos that have shown individuals arming several commercially available robots.

Some videos showed high-powered rifles strapped to legged robots, for example, and even detailed how they were modernized on such systems. We do not link to these videos because we do not want to promote this type of behavior and technology.

In an open letter, several leading robotics companies pledged not to support the weaponization of their products and called on others in the industry to do the same. The companies that co-authored the letter are Agility Robotics, ANYbotics, Boston Dynamics, Clearpath Robotics, Open Robotics, and Unitree. Robots from some of the companies mentioned above have been turned into weapons in the videos.

Android Report Reprint the entire open letter below. Boston Dynamics has also expanded on this issue in a blog this morning.

In a statement emailed to AxiosRobert Blatter, CEO of Boston Dynamics, said, “We are concerned about recent increases in temporary efforts by individuals trying to weaponize commercially available robots… For this technology to be widely accepted throughout society, the public needs to know that they can Trust it. That means we need a policy that prevents bad actors from misusing it.”

Here is the open letter:

An open letter to the robotics industry and our communities

General purpose robots should not be armed

We are some of the world’s leading companies dedicated to bringing new generations of advanced mobile robotics to society. These new generations of robots are now more accessible, easier to operate, more autonomous, more affordable and adaptable than previous generations, and able to navigate locations previously inaccessible by automated or remote-controlled technologies. . We believe that advanced mobile robotics will provide great benefit to society as co-workers in the industry and companions in our homes.

As with any new technology that introduces new capabilities, the emergence of advanced mobile botnets presents the potential for abuse. They can be used by unreliable people to violate civil rights or to threaten, harm or intimidate others. One area of ​​particular concern is armament. We believe that adding weapons to remote or autonomously operated robots, widely available to the public, and able to navigate to previously inaccessible locations where people live and work, raises new risks of harm and serious ethical issues. Armed applications of these robots with new capabilities will also harm public confidence in the technology in ways that harm the enormous benefits it will bring to society. For these reasons, we do not support arming general-purpose robots for advanced navigation. For those of us who have spoken about this issue in the past, and who have participated for the first time, we now feel a renewed urgency in light of the growing public concern in recent months due to the few people who have made so clear about their temporary operations. Efforts to arm commercially available robots.

We pledge that we will not use our general purpose robots for advanced navigation or software we develop that enables advanced robots to use weapons, and we will not support others to do so. When possible, we will carefully review the intended applications of our clients to avoid potential armament. We also undertake to explore the development of technological features that can mitigate or reduce these risks. To be clear, we are not dealing with current technologies that states and their government agencies use to defend themselves and uphold their laws.

We understand that our commitment alone is not sufficient to fully address these risks, and therefore we invite policy makers to work with us to promote the safe use of these bots and prohibit their misuse. We also call on every organization, developer, researcher, and user in the robotics community to make similar pledges not to build, license, support, or enable weapons to be attached to such robots. We are convinced that the benefits to humanity of these technologies greatly outweigh the risks of abuse, and we are excited about a bright future in which humans and robots will work hand in hand to meet some of the world’s challenges.


For more information or to join our pledge, please call us.

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