Elon Musk, Google DeepMind Founders, and Others Sign Pledge to Not Develop Lethal AI Weapon Systems

A remote-controlled robot equipped with a machine gun under development by the United States Marine Corps. (source: USMC)

A remote-controlled robot equipped with a machine gun under development by the United States Marine Corps. (source: USMC)

August 27, 2018 | Source: The Verge, theverge.com, 18 July 2018, James Vincent

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to play an increasing role in military systems. There is an urgent opportunity and necessity for citizens, policymakers, and leaders to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable uses of AI.


Tech leaders, including Elon Musk and the three co-founders of Google’s AI subsidiary DeepMind, have signed a pledge promising to not develop “lethal autonomous weapons.”

It’s the latest move from an unofficial and global coalition of researchers and executives that’s opposed to the propagation of such technology. The pledge warns that weapon systems that use AI to “[select] and [engage] targets without human intervention” pose moral and pragmatic threats. Morally, the signatories argue, the decision to take a human life “should never be delegated to a machine.” On the pragmatic front, they say that the spread of such weaponry would be “dangerously destabilizing for every country and individual.”

The pledge was published today at the 2018 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) in Stockholm, and it was organized by the Future of Life Institute, a research institute that aims to “mitigate existential risk” to humanity. The institute has previously helped issue letters from some of the same individuals, calling on the United Nations to consider new regulations for what are known as lethal autonomous weapons, or LAWS. This, however, is the first time those involved have pledged individually to not develop such technology.


The text of the full pledge and a list of nearly 300 signatory organizations as well as numerous individuals can be found in on the Future of Life Institute web page, Lethal Autonomous Weapons Pledge.