Lawmakers call for ban on killer machines and regulation of AI weapons

Politicians in Austria have called for regulation on the use of artificial intelligence in weapon systems as concerns arise around using machines that can kill people without any human intervention.

On Monday (April 29), the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs held a conference where Austria’s Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg declared this the “Oppenheimer moment of our generation.”

As artificial intelligence continues to advance, Schallenberg has urged for regulation to be brought in: “At least let us make sure that the most profound and far-reaching decision, who lives and who dies, remains in the hands of humans and not of machines.”

He said: “Autonomous weapon systems will soon fill the world’s battlefields. We already see this with AI-enabled drones and AI-based target selection.

“Technology is moving ahead with a racing speed, while politics is lagging behind.”

While discussions have taken place at the United Nations over the last few years, not much has come of it. Now, people at the Vienna conference say the window for action is closing rapidly.

Software programmer and technology investor Jaan Tallinn was present at the conference and shared some ways AI is struggling: “We have already seen AI making selection errors in ways both large and small, from misrecognizing a referee’s bald head as a football, to pedestrian deaths caused by self-driving cars unable to recognize jaywalking.

“We must be extremely cautious about relying on the accuracy of these systems, whether in the military or civilian sectors.”

AI in military training 

Long gone are the days of simply imagining tools that can do the work of humans, as AI is already being implemented in numerous industries worldwide – including in the military.

Earlier this month, on April 4, the U.S. announced it was looking into a media report that the Israeli military has been using AI to identify bombing targets in Gaza.

Just a month before, in March, a number of soldiers in England were being trained on how to use AI to help them shoot drones down from the sky.

The company that supplied the SmartShooter SMASH technology secured a follow-on contract to supply additional SMASH 200L fire control systems to the US Army in October 2023.

Featured Image: Via Ideogram

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Sophie Atkinson