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Boston Dynamics and others pledge not to arm robots in open letter

From Boston Dynamics: Spot and other advanced mobile robots are great tools that can keep people safe and enrich our lives. These robots are not only more capable in a wide range of environments than previous generations, but they are also more accessible, more adaptable, and easier to operate. We believe that advanced mobile robotics will provide tremendous benefits to society. However, in recent months, a few people have threatened the public’s confidence in this technology with tentative efforts to weaponize commercially available robots.

Adding weapons to widely available robots capable of navigating the locations where people live and work raises serious harm risks and ethical objections. In response, we led a Industry Leaders Alliance Covering six companies and three continents by pledging not to weaponize our robots or the software that enables them to use them.

Our commitment to ethical principles

This is not a new priority for us. Boston Dynamics has long been opposed to arming our robots. our Terms and Conditions of Sale We expressly prohibit the use of our products as weapons, to enable weapons, or to harm or intimidate any person or animal. In addition, our work is directed by Our Ethical Principles—From prioritizing the people who will use our tools, to respecting the animals that inspire our designs, to focusing on building trustworthy and predictable robots that add value to people’s lives.

We work closely with our potential customers, to understand their intended use cases and applications and to ensure that they understand our policies and terms. This collaborative approach continues after the sale closes, as we strive to educate and support our customers in safely, effectively and ethically deploying mobile robots.

The next generation of robots will work among us and with us more closely and smarter than their predecessors. We understand that this rapidly evolving technology is raising new concerns regarding potential abuse. In addition to opposing weaponization, we prohibit the use of our bots in any way that violates privacy and civil rights laws. We will continue to work thoughtfully with policymakers and industry peers to mitigate the risks posed by emerging AI technologies, particularly regarding concerns about potential bias, dehumanization, or erosion of privacy.

We will continue to support this alliance and other ethics initiatives, both internally and externally, now and in the future.

Our commitment to public safety

We also believe that mobile robots can and should be used as potential lifesaving tools that help keep people out of harm’s way. Today Spot is already used in many important public safety applications, including: hazardous gas detection, unexploded ordnance inspection, suspicious package investigation, search and rescue, underground or confined space exploration, structural assessments after fires and disaster events, and other risks. Mobile robots are particularly effective tools for responding to and assessing chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats.

To this end, we are committed to partnering with first responders, police departments, fire brigades, and military or government agencies tasked with maintaining public security. Mobile bots like Spot are important tools that can be dispatched to dangerous situations that might otherwise require putting humans in harm’s way, and we are proud to support these types of life-saving use cases.

We build for the future

We are committed to working with policy makers to promote the safe use of mobile bots and prohibit abuse, and we invite the broader bot community to make similar pledges. We also recognize that our commitment alone is not sufficient to fully address all potential risks, and we look forward to continuing this important conversation in the months and years ahead.

Spot is a powerful tool that helps keep people out of harm’s way – whether it’s in industrial facilities or in the public domain. We believe in the potential of this technology to advance human interests and protect lives, and we don’t want to see its promising future undermined by bad actors. We hope this effort marks the beginning of dialogue and a renewed commitment to our ongoing mission of imagining and creating exceptional robots that enrich people’s lives.

Read the message here

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