UC Berkeley Professor Warns of Killer Robots in Viral Video

Killer robots take charge in this sci-fi inspired clip. (Nov. 22, 2017.) Future of Life Institute

A viral video that warns of killer robots — aka “slaughterbots” — taking control of the earth added fuel to an ongoing debate about the dangers of autonomous weapons.

The sci-fi inspired video, produced with the help of a computer science professor at UC Berkeley, depicts a future in which so-called “slaughterbots” are equipped with facial recognition software and kill with little human oversight. At the end of the clip, experts warn that we’re closer to that future than we may think.

“This short film is more than just speculation,” warns computer science professor Stuart Russell in the 7:47-minute video. “It shows the results of integrating and miniaturizing technologies that we already have.” 

Viewer discretion is advised for the video, which shows the small, affordable drones killing a classroom full of students.

“Allowing machines to choose to kill humans will be devastating to our security and freedom,” Russell says in his call-to-action. “Thousands of my fellow researchers agree. But the window to act is closing fast.” 

Since its posting on Nov. 12, the video has racked up more than 1.5 million views on YouTube. Future of Life Institute, an organization with Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk on its board, created the video and presented it during the first United Nations conference focusing on the prevention of lethal autonomous weapons.

See the video below.