Artificial Intelligence
The hand of humanoid robot AILA (artificial intelligence lightweight android) operates a switchboard during a demonstration by the German research centre for artificial intelligence at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover March, 5, 2013. Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

More scientists who are reviewing research funded by the military, including the budget of the US Department of Defence, believe the threat against human race coming from robots and other higher technologies are real. Besides killer robots, which more than 1,000 scientists warn of, drones that are invisible add to the threats.

The Sydney Morning Herald cites the 2011 defense budget which mentions of a robust robotics programme that would develop techniques which enables robotic agents to be capable of autonomous reasoning even in the absence of humans. For 2016, the budget says the military is developing “hybrid biological-computational platforms” as well as fresh approaches to use physiological and neural signs that would result in human-machine systems becoming more efficient.

These development indicate that the threats to the human race would not come from an arms race, but rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) weapons technology, warns Toby Walsh, artificial intelligence professor at the University of New South Wales and Data61 of CSIRO. He points out that current technology would struggle to reach the capabilities of the human mind.

Walsh adds that existence of autonomous weapons runs the risk of falling into the hands of terrorists and rogue nations. One such weapon is invisible drones which a team, led by University of California professor in electrical and computer engineering Boubacar Kante, is developing. The drones would use an ultra-thin Teflon substrate studded with ceramic cylinders that bend light waves around objected coated with it.

Professor Stephen Hawking, meanwhile, identifies three other possible threats to the human race, reports The Telegraph. These are global warming, nuclear war and genetically engineered viruses. He says these three threats the disaster it would cause on the planet in the coming thousand or 10 thousand years is a near certainty.