The world’s largest robot manufacturers have published an “Open Letter” about arming robots

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Some of the world’s largest robot manufacturers have shared an open letter about arming robots. Manufacturers stressed that they would not support weapons in any way.

Although robotics has reached a very high level today, we can now see some robots in our daily lives. Spot, a Boston Dynamics dog-like robot, worked in the field during the coronavirus epidemic.

On the other hand, advanced robots have been seen in different parts of the world as armed with the purpose of killing people, in addition to humanitarian missions. Today we received an open letter from the world’s giant robot manufacturers against arming robots. Robot manufacturers, including Boston Dynamics, stressed that robots should not be armed.

Description of Robot Armament Manufacturers:

“We are one of the world’s leading companies engaged in the introduction of advanced next-generation mobile robots into society. These next-generation robots are more accessible than previous generations, easier to use, more autonomous, cost-effective, adaptable and able to move in places previously inaccessible to automated or remotely controlled technologies. We believe that advanced mobile robots will greatly benefit society as an industry colleague and companion in our home.

As with any new technology offering new opportunities, the emergence of advanced mobile robots creates the possibility of abuse. Unreliable individuals may use them to violate civil rights or to threaten, harm or intimidate others. One area of particular concern is armament. We believe that adding weapons to robots that are controlled remotely or autonomously, that are widely accessible to the public and that can move to previously inaccessible places where people live and work, creates new risks of harm and serious ethical problems. The armed use of these new capable robots will not only damage the enormous benefits they will bring to society, but also undermine public confidence in technology. For these reasons, we do not support equipping our general-purpose robots with increased mobility. For those of us who have talked about this topic in the past, and for those who are interested in it for the first time, we now feel a new urgency in light of the growing public concern in recent months caused by a small number of people explicitly stating their temporary attempts to arm commercially available robots.

We promise not to equip our general-purpose robots with increased mobility or the software we develop to provide advanced robotics, and not to encourage others to do so. Whenever possible, we carefully examine our clients’ intended applications to avoid potential use of weapons. We are also committed to exploring the development of technological features that can reduce or mitigate these risks. To be clear, we are not interested in existing technologies that countries and government agencies use to protect themselves and enforce their laws.

We understand that our commitment alone is not enough to completely eliminate these risks, so we urge lawmakers to work with us to promote the safe use of these robots and prohibit their misuse. We also call on every organization, developer, researcher and user in the robotics community to make similar commitments not to add, allow, support or include weapons of such robots. We believe that the benefits of these technologies for humanity far outweigh the risks of misuse, and we look forward to a bright future in which humans and robots will work side by side to solve some of the world’s problems.”

The mentioned letter was signed by Agility Robotics, Clearpath Robotics, Open Robotics, Unitree and ANYbotics, as well as Boston Dynamics.

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