Elon Musk, DeepMind and AI researchers promise not to develop robot killing machines

The Independent - Tech

Elon Musk and many of the world's most respected artificial intelligence researchers have committed not to build autonomous killer robots. The public pledge not to make any "lethal autonomous weapons" comes amid increasing concern about how machine learning and AI will be used on the battlefields of the future. The signatories to the new pledge – which includes the founders of DeepMind, a founder of Skype, and leading academics from across the industry – promise that they will not allow the technology they create to be used to help create killing machines. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph. The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie'Avatar' and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session A man looks at an exhibit entitled'Mimus' a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar.

Delivery robots: a revolutionary step or sidewalk-clogging nightmare?

The Guardian

Sharing a sidewalk with one of DoorDash's delivery robots is a bit like getting stuck behind someone playing Pokémon Go on his smartphone. The robot moves a little bit slower than you want to; every few meters it pauses, jerking to the left or right, perhaps turning around, then turning again before continuing on its way. These are the sidewalks of the future, technology evangelists promise. Autonomous delivery robots, once the exclusive purview of 1980s sci-fi movies, are coming to a city near you, with promises of reduced labor costs, increased efficiency, and the reduction of cars. But as robot fleets proliferate – Starship robots perform food deliveries for DoorDash and Postmates in Redwood City, California, and Washington DC, while Marble robots will begin making deliveries for Yelp Eat24 in San Francisco on Wednesday – the question none of these companies seems to want to answer is this: are these the sidewalks that we actually want?

The right way and the wrong way on law enforcement drones

Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Police Department's slow and careful process for developing a policy on how it will deploy drones is imperfect, but Chief Charlie Beck and his department are approaching the question in the proper spirit, taking public input and considering the many very serious concerns about drones being used for unwarranted police snooping. If only L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell would take heed. Both the LAPD and the Sheriff's Department have already acquired the small, remote-controlled and camera-equipped devices that could prove valuable in providing an aerial view of tense standoffs -- or could just as easily be misused to ramp up intrusive public surveillance, ostensibly in the name of crime prevention. McDonnell unveiled his program in January as a done deal and has deployed one drone despite criticism from members of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission, who want publicly vetted standards for using the equipment. Beck, by contrast, has sworn off drone flights pending the drafting of guidelines and a series of public meetings, and amid demonstrations by activists who oppose any use of the devices in their belief -- not altogether unreasonable, given how some departments have used red-light cameras and license-plate readers -- that once police have them they will be prone to misuse them.

Majority of civilian oversight body wants L.A. County sheriff to stop flying drone

Los Angeles Times

Citing concerns over surveillance, safety and potential trauma to the public, a majority of Los Angeles County Sheriff Civilian Oversight commissioners Thursday expressed that they want Sheriff Jim McDonnell to stop flying a drone used in law enforcement operations. The aircraft was unveiled by the Sheriff's Department in January and has been deployed four times, mostly in search-and-rescue missions. The department has said the 20-inch-long unmanned aircraft system, which cost $10,000, would strictly be used in high-risk tactical operations -- such as fires, bomb detection and hostage situations -- and not for surveillance. But activists have warned of possible "mission creep," saying they're worried the drone could be used for random spying on residents and could one day be armed or be deployed as a weapon itself. In 2012, the Sheriff's Department used a plane to secretly shoot video footage of the streets of Compton in order to catch criminals.

Protesters target use of drones by L.A. County sheriff's deputies

Los Angeles Times

Roughly 20 people took to downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday and called on the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to immediately suspend plans to deploy a drone in emergency situations, saying they feared the device will be used for warrantless surveillance. Hamid Khan, founder of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, said his group rejected the use of drones in all forms, even in response to bomb threats or hostage crises. In announcing the pilot program last week, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said the drone would not be used for surveillance, but Khan said he feared the agency could change that policy at any time. "What this represents is the rapid escalation and militarization of police," Khan said. Last week, sheriff's officials said they would use the drone only to help deputies gain crucial advantages when dealing with barricaded suspects, suspicious devices, hazardous materials situations, and similar scenarios where it would be dangerous for a deputy to approach on foot.