“There are plenty of great things you can do with AI that save lives, including in a military context, but to openly declare the goal is to develop autonomous weapons and have a partner like this sparks huge concern,” said Toby Walsh, the organiser of the boycott and a professor at the University of New South Wales. This project violates international norms and is a real danger for the Korean peninsula and for the entire world.
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
Hanwha is one of South Korea’s largest weapons manufacturers, and makes cluster munitions which are banned in 120 countries under an international treaty. KAIST’s president, Sung-Chul Shin, said he was saddened to hear of the boycott. “I would like to reaffirm that KAIST does not have any intention to engage in development of lethal autonomous weapons systems and killer robots,” Shin said in a statement. KAIST opened the research centre for the convergence of national defence and artificial intelligence on 20 February declaring it will focus on “AI-based command and decision systems, composite navigation algorithms for mega-scale unmanned undersea vehicles, AI-based smart aircraft training systems, and AI-based smart object tracking and recognition technology.” This announcement was later deleted.