University of Sheffield - Expert warns of robot arms race

March 13, 2008

A robotics expert has warned that robot weapons being developed by superpowers pose a threat to humanity. In a keynote address to the Royal United Services Institute last week, Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, said he was concerned that the world was taking the first steps towards an international robot arms race. "It seems clear that there is an urgent need for the international community to assess the risks of these new weapons now," he said. He warned that they could be developed as standard terrorist weapons. "With the prices of robot construction falling dramatically and the availability of ready-made components for the amateur market, it wouldn't require a lot of skill to make autonomous robot weapons," he said, estimating that one could be made for as little as £250.

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