UN disarmament chief warns of ‘dark side’ of AI, as Liberals tout benefits

Brain Artificial Intelligence

OTTAWA — The United Nations’ top disarmament official says governments need to pay more attention to the “dark side” of artificial intelligence, including the implications of so-called killer robots that could take military decisions out of human hands.

Izumi Nakamitsu, the UN’s undersecretary-general for disarmament affairs, says the benefits of AI will be ground-breaking but governments need to take stronger measures to prevent bad military applications, including potentially catastrophic hacks of nuclear arsenals.

Nakamitsu offered those views as the Trudeau government announced a new partnership with Britain on Monday to develop AI projects that could lead to breakthroughs in driverless vehicles and health care for seniors.

The government has made AI a pillar of its economic-growth strategy because it views the development of the technology as a means to attract foreign investment and creating a new sector of high-skilled jobs.

The government is using ground-breaking developments by leading researchers in Montreal and Toronto in “machine learning,” the advanced algorithms that new supercomputers use to think in a way somewhat like humans.

But the government said little about the security risks surrounding AI, expect that it needs to do more to protect the privacy of Canadians because the technology relies on amassing massive amounts of personal data.


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