It sounds like something out of a cheesy science-fiction film: The greatest scientific minds on the planet come together to warn arrogant world leaders about the danger of the using artificial intelligence for military purposes.

Unfortunately, that just happened, which means weapons powered by artificial intelligence are, or soon will be, a real threat.

Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and over 1,000 academics, scientists and experts have called upon leaders to ban the use of offensive “autonomous weapons” from the world’s militaries. The ban does “not include cruise missiles or remotely piloted drones for which humans make all targeting decisions,” but would focus instead on weapons which “select and engage targets without human intervention.”

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades,” the scientists said in an open letter presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aries. “The stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.”

The letter went on to say that if one country were to push ahead with such weapons, a global autonomous-arms race would be inevitable.

“Starting a military AI arms race is a bad idea, and should be prevented by a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control,” the letter said.

And if the leading scientific minds can’t convince you, just watch this video of a military robot “dog.”

That thing isn’t even autonomous, and it’s horrifying.

(Source: FutureOfLife, Wired)