Leading robotics companies say they don't want to weaponize their technology

Leading robotics companies say they don’t want to weaponize their technology

Six well-known robotics companies today have signed a letter stating that they are against turning any of their products now and in the future into weapons.

The companies were Robotics, Agility, ANYbotics, Boston Dynamics, Clearpath Robotics, Open Robotics, and Unitree Robotics. All of them said that “general purpose” robots should be used for the benefit of society, not to kill people – as seen in the dystopian science fiction series “Black Mirror”.

“As with any new technology that offers new capabilities, the emergence of advanced mobile botnets offers the potential for abuse,” the letter reads. 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.”

The companies said that as their products become more advanced, there is a new “must” to inform the public that they are against any form of armament. Some of the commercially available robots made by these companies appear to have been somewhat weaponized by the owners, such as when someone installed a paint gun on one of Boston Dynamics’ robots.

Even worse, in other cases, robotic dogs have been seen carrying machine guns and RPGs. There was another case when someone put a sniper rifle on a Ghost Robotics dog. Photos and videos went viral, which did not exactly force the audience to put their faith in such technologies.

“We believe that advanced mobile robotics will provide tremendous benefits to society,” Boston Dynamics said on it website. “However, in recent months, a few people have threatened public confidence in this technology with temporary efforts to arm commercially available robots. Adding weapons to robots that are widely available to the public and capable of navigating the locations where people live and work raises serious risks of harm. and ethical objections.

The company has long been opposed to the weaponization of its products, and its terms and conditions of sale prohibit such use, but it seems that some people need to be told again what bots are supposed to use, like the popular Spot (pictured). for. According to Boston Dynamics, these facilities are things like dangerous gas detection, unexploded ordnance inspection, and suspicious package investigation. Certainly not to make the robot look like a Rambo robot dog.

“We pledge that we will not use our general-purpose robots for advanced mobility or software we develop that enables advanced robotics, and we will not support others to do so,” the companies said. “When possible, we will carefully review the intended applications of our customers to avoid potential weaponization. We also pledge to explore the development of technological features that can mitigate or reduce these risks.”

Photo: Boston Dynamics

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