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A group of researchers and over 500 experts, including Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, and Noam Chomsky, wrote an open letter in support of a UN ban on the development of lethal autonomous weapons systems as early as 2015. The authors argued that autonomous weapons will play a dangerous role in the creation of the third revolution in warfare, after the invention of gunpowder and nuclear weapons.

Artificial intelligence is significantly cheaper to operate and maintain than other weapons systems, including nuclear weapons. It is therefore expected to be incorporated into a wide variety of military and mass-produced targets, and to penetrate terrorist organizations and the black market. Since artificial intelligence is still a relatively new field, leading scientists  demanded agreements and regulations regarding its use. 

Almost seven years later, we are witnessing a huge integration of artificial intelligence technologies in the autonomous weapons industry. Recent reports revealed that a neural network system took just six hours to develop 40,000 distinct types of chemical weapons. Scientists used artificial intelligence to demonstrate how easily the system can be exploited for malicious purposes by a “bad actor”, according to thetimeshub.in.

Scientists who instructed the algorithm to look for toxic components achieved impressive results: the algorithm was able to create tens of thousands of new substances, including those that are similar to the most powerful nerve agent ever created, VX. As a result, they hoped to raise awareness for their field, as well as the harm caused by improper use of technology, in a field that lacks coherent guidelines.