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Scientists Worry About Arms Race in Artificial Intelligence

A girl watches as Saen Dao, an eight-year-old female asian elephant, and her mahout perform underwater during a show at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Chonburi south of Bangkok.

Scientists and tech experts — including Stephen Hawking and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak — are warning of a global arms race with weapons using artificial intelligence.

In an open letter Tuesday with hundreds of signatories, the experts argue that if any major military power pushes ahead with development of autonomous weapons, "a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow.''

Some critics argue in favor of so-called "killer robots,'' saying the use of robotics on the battlefield could save lives.

Though such weapons are still some years away, experts warn that once developed, it would only become a matter of time before they "appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists.''