Experts from around the globe have come together to petition the United Nations to ban “killer robots.” According to the BBC, 116 leading robot experts have urged the UN to take action to prevent the development of killer fighting machines.
During their latest approach to the UN, Musk claimed that AI poses a bigger threat to the world than North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.
In a letter to the international body, artificial intelligence (AI) creators, including Tesla’s Elon Musk, warn the organization of “the third revolution in warfare.”
The experts state that “lethal autonomous” technology is a “Pandora’s box” and time is of the essence when it comes to stopping the development and production of so-called “killer robots.”
What’s more, the 116 experts are also calling for a “ban on the use of AI in managing weaponry.”
“Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend,” the letter states.
“These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways,” it continues. The collective warns that “we do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box open, it will be hard to close.”
The expert collective states that artificial killing machines are “morally wrong,” and the technology should identify to the list of weapons banned under the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).
Tech Industry Supports Killer Robots Ban
The group includes not only Musk, but other technology leaders, including Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of Google’s DeepMind, and other leading industry bigwigs.
The experts are set to meet after a UN focus group on autonomous weaponry discusses their letter in November. Rumors are rife that the founders of the 116 collectives will be invited to the UN to discuss their fears further.
However, this is not a new topic for the UN. The international body has previously discussed banning “killer robots,” and several committees have also called for a ban. The issue is an ongoing topic that should take on a proper discussion within the very near future, experts claim.
The issue first reared its ugly head in 2015 when more than 1,000 tech experts, researchers, and scientists wrote a letter to the UN warning them of the dangers of autonomous weaponry. Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, and Elon Musk were behind that letter.
During their latest approach to the UN, Musk claimed that AI poses a more significant threat to the world than North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. He also said that the development of killer robots would develop a new age in warfare.
Experts claim that nations around the world are now on the brink of jumping forward with so-called “killer robots” and they must be stopped. However, analysts have warned that although countries may publicly denounce the technology, they will be secretly working on developments behind the scenes in case world war three should ever break out.
Some medical bodies from around the globe have come together to call for a halt in the progress of gene editing in humans embryos after the scientific community discovered a significant breakthrough. Some groups merely want to slow down the pace of testing until discussion of ethical considerations can catch up.
We can all agree that world [of eugenics and designer babies] doesn’t feel very comfortable…
A team from Oregon Health and Science University, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov, recently conducted an in-depth study based on “many tens” of gene editing in humans embryos.
According to reports, a paper detailing the correction of the defective gene editing in human embryos using CRISPR will soon be published by the team. CRISPR is an abbreviation of Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. It is a genetic engineering tool that uses a bacterium to build and replace the repeated sequences in strands.
MIT Tech Review states that the latest results are the most promising so far and more will be revealed once the paper has been released.
In light of medical progress in this area, the Globe and Mail state that the American Journal of Human Genetics has published a policy statement signed by 11 organizations from around the globe, including the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors. It calls for a “cautious but pro-active approach” as the scientific community moves forward at a rapid rate.
Ban Gene Editing in Human Embryos?
The report says that the statement includes an agreement that gene editing in human embryos should not be performed in a pregnant woman. The paper highlights that the embryos used in the Oregon study were only tested for research purposes, and were not taken any further.
The policy also details several criteria that should be adhered to before clinical trials can take place, or for when public funds can be allocated to the research. At present, the US government doesn’t allocate federal funding to organizations conducting genetic research on embryos. The university funded the Oregon research team.
“We don’t want it to go speeding ahead,” Kelly Ormond, a genetics professor at Stanford University and lead author of the policy statement, said. “We want people to be very transparent about what’s happening, and we want things to undergo good ethics review, and for society to be engaged in these dialogues now while this research is just starting to happen.”
According to reports, Ormond believes it’s “important to be pro-active in talking and thinking about the issues related to the technology, and starting a broader conversation of how gene editing in human embryos should be used.”
“We can all agree that that world [of eugenics and designer babies] doesn’t feel very comfortable, and I think most of us don’t want to go there. So we need to find ways to prevent that from happening,” she added.
Meanwhile, New Scientist states that there are a few groups around the globe currently working on gene editing in human embryos, using the CRISPR technique. Some groups are conducting studies on correcting genetic disorders, while others are focusing on improving fertility processes.
Experts claim that unless the policy or regulatory body is put in place to regulate the community and to monitor its progression, science could be pushed too far. Gene editing in human embryos could lead to a “perfect” or “super-human” race, or even go the other way and create “fighting machines.” The science can be dangerous, but it also holds tremendous promise to make a bold impact in the world.
Microsoft Corporation and Legal Business want to depart from the traditional arrangement of charging and paying by the hour. They announced that they want to shift 90% of their legal work into alternative fee arrangements that will last for two years.
Lawyers charge their clients using a popular method called “billable hours.” For more than a decade, many companies have battled to eliminate billable hours. The method is prone to abuse, ineffective, and makes it difficult if not impossible, to plan expenses.
Microsoft Corporation hopes to create affinity groups where lawyers from diverse backgrounds can connect with one another.
Law firms are surprisingly relevant to the multinational technology company. It was never a secret that Microsoft Corporation and Legal Business engaged in various high-profile court cases.
Now, different corporations have discovered alternative methods of tracking services, such as retainer services and fixed-fee, to cope with paying lawyers.
The company has been on both side of different trade can copyright suits globally, from the EU to China and the U.S. From copyrights to trademarks, Microsoft has fought who’s of digital tech companies like:
- Apple Incorporated
- Be Incorporated
- Caldera, Incorporated
- Bristol Technology Incorporated
- Opera Software
- Stac Electronics
- Sun Microsystems
- Zhongyi Electronic
According to David Howard, Microsoft Deputy General Counsel, and Corporate Vice President, “We’ve learned that merely comparing the billing rates of different firms doesn’t tell us very much. Firms which work less efficiently usually cost us more, even if their billing rates are lower. Competing based on a fixed fee or similar alternative fee permits a real apples-to-apples comparison. “
However, he mentioned that the plan was not totally about saving money but more into strengthening relationships between Microsoft and Legal Business that conduct its legal strategy.
Microsoft Corporation has another reason to make an alternative fee arrangement. The giant company aims to deepen diversity. Microsoft and Legal Business hope to create affinity groups where lawyers from diverse backgrounds can connect.
Even though the method of fixed-fee billing is beginning to take hold, many top law firms still practice a model based on the billable hour.
Law Firms that Said ‘Yes’ to Microsoft
After the announcement of plans, the following companies embraced the alternative fee arrangement model that Microsoft offered:
- Simpson Thacher & Bartlett – The New York City-based company is known to be an international law firm that employs over 900 attorneys in eleven of their offices worldwide.
- Sidley Austin – The sixth-largest U.S. based corporate law firm has 1,900 lawyers with annual revenue of more than one billion dollars.
- Perkins Coie – Founded in 1912, the international law firm is located in Seattle, Washington.
- Arent Fox – The Washington-based company is not just a law firm but a lobbying group as well.
- Covington & Burling – The international law firm has 12 offices in 7 different countries. As of 2017, it has a total number of 1, 055 attorneys.
- Davis Wright Tremaine – The company is litigation and a national business law firm that focuses on all areas of legal service.
- Fish & Richardson – Having more than 400 attorneys, the company is commercial litigation, global patent, and intellectual property litigation law firm.
- K & L Gates – The international law firm has 45 number offices and was founded in 1883.
- Greenberg Traurig – With a revenue of US$1.4 billion, the international law firm has a total number of 38 offices.
- Merchant & Gould – The company is considered as a property law firm.
- Latham & Watkins – With US$2.823 billion in annual revenue, the company is now deemed as the world’s highest-grossing law firm.
- Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison – The international law firm focuses on litigation, corporate, representation, personal, and entertainment law practices.
- Orrick – The company is an international law firm that has more than 25 offices in different countries.
Microsoft Corporation and Legal Business are stepping up to the plate, to create a more predictable way to purchase legal services. This is a bold action that is sure to have an impact on the legal profession in the coming years.