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kbog comments on Nothing Wrong With AI Weapons - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 29 August 2017 09:11:25AM *  2 points [-]

Cheap autonomous weapons could greatly decrease the cost of ending life---within a decade they could easily be the cheapest form of terrorism by far, and may eventually be the cheapest mass destruction in general. Think insect-sized drones carrying toxins or explosive charges that are lethal if detonated inside the skull.

That sounds a lot more expensive than bullets. You can already kill someone for a quarter.

If weaponized insect drones become cheap enough for terrorists to build and use, then counterterrorist organizations will be able to acquire large numbers of potent surveillance tools to find and eliminate their centers of fabrication.

You should have a low prior for new military technologies to alter the balance of power between different types of groups in a specific way. It hasn't happened much in history, because competing groups can take advantage of these technologies too.

The greater the military significance of AI, the more difficult it becomes for states to share information and coordinate regarding its development. This might be bad news for safety.

Of course the military AIs will be kept secret. But the rest of AI work won't be like that. Cruise liners aren't less safe because militaries are secretive about warship design.

Plus, in Bostrom and Armstrong's Race to the Precipice paper, it is shown that uncertainty about other nations' AI capabilities actually makes things safer.

Comment author: Paul_Christiano 29 August 2017 05:16:46PM 4 points [-]

That sounds a lot more expensive than bullets. You can already kill someone for a quarter.

The main cost of killing someone with a bullet is labor. The point is that autonomous weapons reduce the labor required.

alter the balance of power between different types of groups in a specific way.

New technologies do often decrease the cost of killing people and increase the number of civilians who can be killed by a group of fixed size (see: guns, explosives, nuclear weapons).