By now, everyone’s seen the videos of Boston Dynamics robot dog, Spot. It can walk, run, hop on two legs and even dance — it’s mighty impressive. But with every video released by the American robotics firm, it felt like we were edging closer to the ultimate goal of four-legged drones that could be equipped for battle and replace soldiers. A pretty terrifying idea.
However, Boston Dynamics has come together with a coalition of other robotics experts to plead with companies across the sector to please never give the robots guns. The letter, which was first reported by Axios, has been signed by Boston Dynamics, Agility Robotics, ANYbotics, Unitree, Clearpath and Open Robotics.
In the open letter, the six companies said:
“As with any new technology offering new capabilities, the emergence of advanced mobile robots offers the possibility of misuse. Untrustworthy people could use them to invade civil rights or to threaten, harm, or intimidate others. One area of particular concern is weaponization.
“We believe that adding weapons to robots that are remotely or autonomously operated, widely available to the public, and capable of navigating to previously inaccessible locations where people live and work, raises new risks of harm and serious ethical issues.
“Weaponised applications of these newly-capable robots will also harm public trust in the technology in ways that damage the tremendous benefits they will bring to society. For these reasons, we do not support the weaponization of our advanced-mobility general-purpose robots.”