Bengio explained why he signed, saying, "the use of AI in autonomous weapons hurts my sense of ethics".
According the UN's website, a group focused on these types of weapons was set to meet on Monday, but the session has been cancelled and rescheduled for November. He's donated millions to fund research that ensures artificial intelligence will be used for good, not evil, and joined other tech luminaries in establishing OpenAI, a nonprofit with the same goal in mind. The group was slated to meet on August 21, but has been delayed until November, according to Fortune.
In the letter, Musk and 116 specialists from 26 countries urged the world to ban Autonomous weapons, justifying reverse the beginning of "third age wars". Signed by several of the world's top AI minds, the letter was spearheaded by Walsh, a professor in AI at the University of New South Wales, who told Xinhua that he was concerned with what he felt was an "arms race" occurring around the world.
Alluding to Greek mythology of Pandora opening her jar of evils, the note prophesied: "We do not have long to act".
"Two years ago at this same conference, we released an open letter signed by thousands of researchers working in AI and robotics calling for such a ban".
He believes it's a matter of years not decades until military weapons are imbued with some level of autonomy - which poses a number of worrying scenarios, particularly if they fall into the wrong hands.
"We need to make decisions today choosing which of these futures we want".
Professor Walsh said artificial intelligence could help tackle numerous pressing problems facing society, but added: "The same technology can also be used in autonomous weapons to industrialise war".
Indeed, the growing concerns of both academics and industry experts are valid given that unmanned aircraft have been used by the U.S.to target militants since 2012, while a fully autonomous sentry robot built by Samsung patrols the Demilitarised Zone between North and South Korea.
The United States has not communicated a solid position on the matter, and while it supported the convening of this UN group, one can't imagine the world's biggest military power willingly supporting a proposal that would stifle its ability to develop complex new weapons systems - especially when Russian Federation has already indicated support for the Kalashnikov AI systems.
"I am hopeful that this new letter, adding the support of the AI and robotics industry, will add urgency to the discussions at the United Nations that should have started today", Walsh said.