Film Shorts

Slaughterbots The short film "Slaughterbots."

  • The Future of Life Institute released a short film showing a dystopian future with killer drones powered by artificial intelligence.

  • The short is part of a campaign warning about the dangers of weaponized artificial intelligence and is designed to draw attention to the issue.

"Nuclear is obsolete. Take out your entire enemy virtually risk free. Just characterize him, release the swarm, and rest easy."

These were some of the first words said in the short film "Slaughterbots." A joint project between University of California at Berkeley professor Stuart Russell and the Future of Life Institute, the short gives viewers a warning about a fictional dystopian future.

The short starts with a representative from a defense contractor advertising his company's newest product: A palm-sized, explosive-filled drone with an artificial-intelligence implant that allows it to find, target, and kill people with a precise detonation to the head.

"You can target an evil ideology, right where it starts," the representative says, pointing to his head amid a massive round of applause. The drones are then shown to fall into the wrong hands and wreak havoc on innocent people all around the world.

The short was released last week by the Future of Life Institute, a Boston-based nonprofit dedicated to showing the dangers of advanced artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies. The institute, backed by Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and other skeptics of artificial intelligence, is also behind the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, according to Seeker.

The release coincided with the UN's Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva, Switzerland, which will discuss autonomous weapons. And it comes as the world's three largest arms exporters, the US, Russia, and China, have all shown signs of interest in unmanned weapons systems. There is a fear there could be an arms race to create a fully autonomous militarized AI.

Researchers, CEOs, and high-profile individuals like Musk and Hawking signed an open letter in July calling for the banning of military AI, and warning of its dangers to humanity.

See the short video below:

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