Killer Robots : from fiction to reality

Viral, realistic and creepy… The fictional video showing “slaughterbots”, opens again the debates about robots.


At anytime, the inanimate object becoming alive has always been fascinating. The robots which were only science-fiction yesterday, became reality nowadays. This ‘Black Mirror style’ video shows it brilliantly.

“Slaughterbots” is a terrifying

A credible video

It has been realised for the Ban Lethal Autonomous Weapons campaign. A dozen of associations and NGOs fighting for the human rights, are at the origin of the project. The Future of Life Institute, its searchers and philosophers, are also into it. Stuart Russel, a famous AI’s expert, even concludes by saying : “This short movie is more than a simple speculation”.

Samuel Nowakowski believed it was true ©Lucas Hueber
“This short movie is more than a speculation”

Samuel Nowakowski, is a robotic’s searcher of the loria and teaches at the “Ecole des mines” in Nancy, France. He was literally shocked in front of the video : “I believed everything was true. The work of The Intercept’s journalists quickly came in my mind”.The philosopher thinks this video shows the “quest of modern notoriety where the ethics becomes very rare”.Today, there aren’t any common rules : “it depends of the innovator and his values”. Samuel doesn’t always approves his colleagues works at the loria.

Terminator coming soon ?

Most famous experts are regularly waning us about AI. The famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking declared recently : “I fear AI may replace humans altogether”. The business magnate Elon Musk is also among the most sceptical. Recently, a clash between him and Marck Zuckerberg exploded. Marck judged the warnings of Elon Musk as “particularly irresponsible”.

Elon Musk answered Marck Zuckerberg on AI

Elon Musk answered on Twitter that “his understanding of the subject is limited”. Samuel Nowakowski recalls that “AI doesn’t exists yet. We are very far from it”. He regrets the main medias always trying to fear people with robotics. “Before thinking about AI, we should define intelligence”, adds he.

France adopts the drones

Experts from 86 different countries brang the campaign at the UNO, during a CCW’s session on 13th november. More than 125 countries were represented, such as France, one of the main UNO’s security council member. Mounir Mahjoubi, the french digital secretary of state didn’t say anything yet. A surprising position when we know the “technology ethics” is one of his primary goals.

A reaper drone that french army acquires since 2014 ©Flickr

Even worse, the french minister of defense Florence Parly, announced in september the french army will arm his drones. The minister of defense ensured that “it won’t change anything concerning the international right”. Indeed, the fact that a human person guides these drones, means it is a common weapon according to the international laws.

“We will use a technology we don’t master”.

However, Samuel Nowakowski is very upset, the french army uses american weapons : “We’ll use a technology we don’t master”. As a humanist, he regrets the banalization of the death, these weapons directly provokes : “We forget that any war has a price, a human price. Death becomes abstract”. He wishes to introduce more ethics in the field. Nothing unusual for somebody hoping to bring more human in our digital era.