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Will the UN host a meeting in November to continue discussions regarding lethal autonomous weapons?

Kinetic lethal autonomous offensive weapons systems (KLAOWS) are a potential new stage in global armaments and warfare, as well as a new potential weapon of mass destruction.

Many current weapons systems, such as military drones, are moving toward autonomy, and autonomous "swarms" of aircraft have been tested. Meanwhile non-military drone technology continues with highly capable drones potentially equipped with facial recognition (and potentially armable) and other narrow AI capabilities becoming cheaper and more effective.

There is significant concern about an arms race in these weapons developing. An open letter coordinated by the Future of Life Institute and signed by > 3000 AI/ML researchers and 17,000 others argues that

If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow. Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce. It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc. Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group.

International negotiations to potentially limit KLAOWS are underway but dragging. A formal UN discussions scheduled for late August were cancelled due to technicalities. On August 20, an open letter was released signed by a large number of robotics and AI company CEOs and others encouraging the UN to continue negotiations toward limiting use of KLAOWS.

A meeting is currently targeted for November 2017.

Will a meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) already established by the UN begin formal meetings at some point in November 2017?

Resolution is positive if formal discussions at the UN commence at some point prior to the end of November.


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