Leading experts in the field of AI decide to boycott a South Korean university because of partnership with Hanwha Systems.
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kaist) received criticisms recently with their partnership with Hanhwa Systems.
The latter is a weapons manufacturer and more than 50 AI researches from 30 countries are not happy about it. The group signed a letter expressing their concern about plans on developing AI for weapons.
The university confirms the partnership but denies allegations in relation to the lethal weapons.
Kaist president Shin Sung-chul says they will not develop “autonomous lethal weapons”.
“I reaffirm once again that Kaist will not conduct any research activities counter to human dignity including autonomous weapons lacking meaningful human control. Kaist is significantly aware of ethical concerns in the application of all technologies including artificial intelligence.”
He explains that the project was focused on developing algorithms. These algorithms would be utilised for “efficient logistical systems, unmanned navigation and aviation training systems”.
This news comes a week before the UN meeting to discuss killer robots.
Professor Noel Sharkey, head of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, welcomed the university’s response.
“The signatories of the letter will need a little time to discuss the relationship between Kaist and Hanwha before lifting the boycott,” he said. Until then, they will not be collaborating with Kaist in any way.