It's possible that Hollywood is good at predicting the future. Robert Wallace, head of the CIA's Office of Technical Service and the US equivalent of MI6's fictional Q, has said that Russian spies used to watch the latest Bond movie to see what technologies might be coming their way.

It's possible that Hollywood's obsession with killerrobots is of concern. Dolly is a sex robot courtroom drama.

I didn't think I'd say "sex robot courtroom drama". A billionaire is killed by a sex robot and then asks for a lawyer to defend its actions.

The real killer robots

In addition to Dolly, other movies featuring killer robots include 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the T-800 robot in theinator series.

The very first feature-length science fiction film, the 1927 classic Metropolis, was about the conflict between humans androbots.

Most of these movies don't get it right.

There won't be killer robots with bad intentions. This might make for a dramatic storyline and a box office success, but technologies like this are centuries away.

There is no doubt that robots may never be sentient.

We should be worried about simpler technologies. These technologies are starting to show up on the battlefield in places like Nagorno-Karabukh.

A war transformed

Angel has Fallen and Eye in the Sky are two movies that show the future of killer robots.

Modern warfare is being transformed by the use of drones, tanks, ships, and subs. These are not as advanced as the ones you can buy in a hobby store.

The decisions to identify, track, and destroy targets are being handed over to their computer programs.

There are a lot of moral, legal, and technical problems with this. Weapons like that will further upset our situation. Turkey is expected to become a major drone power.

A terrible and terrifying world where unaccountable machines decide who lives and who dies is caused by weapons like this.

The future of robot manufacturing is starting to be pushed back.

A pledge not to weaponize

Six leading robotic companies pledged last week that they wouldn't weaponize their platforms.

Boston Dynamics makes the Atlas humanoid robot, which can perform an impressive backflip, and the Spot robot dog, which looks like it's straight out of a TV show.

This isn't the first time a company has talked about the future of technology.

Five years ago, I organized an open letter signed by Musk and more than 100 other people calling for the UN to regulate the use of killer robots. The Pope was knocked into third place due to the letter.

The pledge not to weaponize their robot platforms is more virtue signaling than anything else.

Third parties have mounted guns on Spot robot dog clones.

The modified robots have worked well. The top nuclear scientist in Iran was assassinated in 2020.

Collective action to safeguard our future

Chemical weapons, biological weapons, and even nuclear weapons have been used by nations in the past.

The regulation of chemical weapons is not perfect. Arms companies will not be able to sell such weapons openly.

The UN Human Rights Council has recently unanimously decided to explore the human rights implications of new and emerging technologies.

More than a dozen nations have called for the UN to regulate killerrobots. The European Parliament, the African Union, the UN Secretary General, and many others have all called for regulation of artificial intelligence.

Australia has yet to support these calls. If you want to avoid this future, you might want to talk to your political representative.

Toby Walsh is a professor of artificial intelligence at the University of New South Wales.

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