Weaponised AI boycott

Written by Mark Evans

A letter from over 50 academics has been delivered to the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), a state founded university, expressing dismay over the development of AI between the institution and its partner Hanwha Systems.

Moreover, the letter, addressed to Professor Sung-Chul Shin, the president of KAIST, expresses concerns so deep that the signatories say that they will boycott KAIST.

The letter states: “It has been reported that the goals of this centre are to "develop artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to be applied to military weapons, joining the global competition to develop autonomous arms."

Citing the United Nations discussions on the threat posed to international security by autonomous weapons, the letter asks that there are assurances that any autonomous weapons possess ‘meaningful’ human control, noting that by removing any ethical restraints future warfare could be waged on a scale and against victims on scales not seen before.

KAIST is South Korea's leading research university, with 60 professors working in artificial intelligence. The Korean Times reported that the Research Center for the Convergence of National Defense and Artificial Intelligence was opened on 20 February.

Hanwha Group, founded in 1952 as Korea Explosives, is involved in the production of cluster munitions which are prohibited under the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions.