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Dimension: 32 x 18 x 48 cm (L x W x H), capacity 27 Liter Weight 0.65kg
Notes 1. Please allow slight deviation for the measurement data. 2. Actual color may vary from picture slightly due to computer settings.
Tech leaders, including Elon Musk and the three co-founders of Google’s AI subsidiary DeepMind, have signed a pledge promising to not develop “lethal autonomous weapons.”
It’s the latest move from an unofficial and global coalition of researchers and executives that’s opposed to the propagation of such technology. The pledge warns that weapon systems that use AI to “[select] and [engage] targets without human intervention” pose moral and pragmatic threats. Morally, the signatories argue, the decision to take a human life “should never be delegated to a machine.” On the pragmatic front, they say that the spread of such weaponry would be “dangerously destabilizing for every country and individual.”
The pledge was published today at the 2018 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) in Stockholm, and it was organized by the Future of Life Institute, a research institute that aims to “mitigate existential risk” to humanity.
The institute has previously helped issue letters from some of the same individuals, calling on the United Nations to consider new regulations for what are known as lethal autonomous weapons, or LAWS. This, however, is the first time those involved have pledged individually to not develop such technology.
Signatories include SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk; the three co-founders of Google’s DeepMind subsidiary, Shane Legg, Mustafa Suleyman, and Demis Hassabis; Skype founder Jaan Tallinn; and some of the world’s most respected and prominent AI researchers, including Stuart Russell, Yoshua Bengio, and Jurgen Schmidhuber.
Max Tegmark, a signatory of the pledge and professor of physics at MIT, said in a statement that the pledge showed AI leaders “shifting from talk to action.” Tegmark said the pledge did what politicians have not: impose hard limits on the development of AI for military use. “Weapons that autonomously decide to kill people are as disgusting and destabilizing as bioweapons and should be dealt with in the same way,” said Tegmark.
So far, attempts to muster support for the international regulation of autonomous weapons have been ineffectual. Campaigners have suggested that LAWS should be subject to restrictions, similar to those placed on chemical weapons and landmines.
But note that it’s incredibly difficult to draw a line between what does and does not constitute an autonomous system. For example, a gun turret could target individuals but not fire on them, with a human “in the loop” simply rubber-stamping its decisions.
They also point out that enforcing such laws would be a huge challenge, as the technology to develop AI weaponry is already widespread. Additionally, the countries most involved in developing this technology (like the US and China) have no real incentive not to do so.
Paul Scharre, a military analyst who wrote a book on the future of warfare and AI, told The Verge this year that there isn’t enough “momentum” to push forward international restrictions. “There isn’t a core group of Western democratic states involved, and that’s been critical [with past weapons bans], with countries like Canada and Norway, leading the charge,” said Scharre.
However, while international regulations might not be coming anytime soon, recent events have shown that collective activism like today’s pledge can make a difference.
Google, for example, was rocked by employee protests after it was revealed that the company was helping develop non-lethal AI drone tools for the Pentagon. Weeks later, it published new research guidelines, promising not to develop AI weapon systems. A threatened boycott of South Korea’s KAIST university had similar results, with the KAIST’s president promising not to develop military AI “counter to human dignity including autonomous weapons lacking meaningful human control.”
In both cases, it’s reasonable to point out that the organizations involved are not stopping themselves from developing military AI tools with other, non-lethal uses.
But a promise not to put a computer solely in charge of killing is better than no promise at all.
The full text of the pledge can be read below, and a full list of signatories can be found here:
Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to play an increasing role in military systems. There is an urgent opportunity and necessity for citizens, policymakers, and leaders to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable uses of AI.
In this light, we the undersigned agree that the decision to take a human life should never be delegated to a machine. There is a moral component to this position, that we should not allow machines to make life-taking decisions for which others – or nobody – will be culpable.
There is also a powerful pragmatic argument: lethal autonomous weapons, selecting and engaging targets without human intervention, would be dangerously destabilizing for every country and individual.
Thousands of AI researchers agree that by removing the risk, attributability, and difficulty of taking human lives, lethal autonomous weapons could become powerful instruments of violence and oppression, especially when linked to surveillance and data systems.
Moreover, lethal autonomous weapons have characteristics quite different from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and the unilateral actions of a single group could too easily spark an arms race that the international community lacks the technical tools and global governance systems to manage. Stigmatizing and preventing such an arms race should be a high priority for national and global security.
We, the undersigned, call upon governments and government leaders to create a future with strong international norms, regulations and laws against lethal autonomous weapons. These currently being absent, we opt to hold ourselves to a high standard: we will neither participate in nor support the development, manufacture, trade, or use of lethal autonomous weapons.
We ask that technology companies and organizations, as well as leaders, policymakers, and other individuals, join us in this pledge.
Instagram is working on a two-factor authentication solution that would not require a user’s phone number, according to a report from TechCrunch. Instagram has confirmed that it’s working on the more secure method, just hours after a prominent Motherboard investigation on SIM hacking was published earlier today. Like other social media platforms, the upcoming option will let you authenticate with code-generating apps like Google Authenticator and Authy.
Though Instagram’s confirmation was likely prompted by the investigation, it appears that the company has been working on moving beyond phone numbers for some time. Engineer and tipster Jane Manchun Wong discovered a prototype version of the updated two-factor feature in the Android version of Instagram’s APK code and publicized it yesterday on Twitter.
Instagram is finally working on token-based two-factor authentication!!
Thank you Instagram! I have been waiting for this since 2016! We finally won’t have to rely our account’s security on SMS! pic.twitter.com/u0iIPTaZO2
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) July 17, 2018
Right now, Instagram lets you recover your account and log in on new devices so long as you can confirm your identify via a phone number associated with your account.
But, as the Motherboard article makes clear, a growing new form of online theft has resulted in hackers illegally gaining access to a user’s phone number and tying it to a new SIM card. They do so by using a bit of information like a social security number, perhaps leaked during one of countless data breaches, to trick a telecom customer service agent into reassigning a phone number to a new SIM.
From there, the hackers can extort a victim for financial gain, or they can use the phone number and its recovery benefits to reset Amazon, Instagram, Twitter, and other accounts. Specifically, hackers are targeting rare and lucrative Instagram and Twitter handles because those go for high sums on virtual underground markets, Motherboard reports.
Many tech companies have built tools to protect against the vulnerability of SMS-based two-factor authentication.
For instance, Google has its Authenticator app that uses randomly generated numeric code with a strict time limit, and Facebook now uses a similar tool built into the Facebook app itself.
It’s good to see Instagram now following suit.