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“International Petition against Autonomous Weapons” with Stuart Russell, CITRIS Research Exchange

Stuart Russell is currently a professor of computer science, director of the Center for Intelligent Systems, and holder of the Smith-Zadeh Chair in Engineering at UC Berkeley. He has published over 100 papers on a wide range of topics in artificial intelligence. His books include “The Use of Knowledge in Analogy and Induction” (Pitman, 1989), “Do the Right Thing: Studies in Limited Rationality” (with Eric Wefald, MIT Press, 1991), and “Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach” (with Peter Norvig, Prentice Hall, 1995, 2003).


Autonomous weapons systems select and engage targets without human intervention; they become lethal when those targets include humans. LAWS might include, for example, armed quadcopters that can search for and eliminate enemy combatants in a city, but do not include cruise missiles or remotely piloted drones for which humans make all targeting decisions. The artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics communities face an important ethical decision: whether to support or oppose the development of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS).

The UN has held three major meetings in Geneva under the auspices of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, or CCW, to discuss the possibility of a treaty banning autonomous weapons. There is at present broad agreement on the need for “meaningful human control” over selection of targets and decisions to apply deadly force. Much work remains to be done on refining the necessary definitions and identifying exactly what should or should not be included in any proposed treaty.

Free and open to the public. Register online by Monday for a free lunch at UC Berkeley. The CITRIS Research Exchange Seminar Series is a weekly dialogue highlighting leading voices on societal-scale research issues. Each one-hour seminar starts at 12pm Pacific time and is hosted live at Sutardja Dai Hall on the UC Berkeley campus.

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Live broadcast at http://video.citris.berkeley.edu/playlists/webcast/.
Ask questions live on Twitter: #CITRISRE.  All talks may be viewed on
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Live webcasting of each CITRIS Research Exchange seminar is available at these CITRIS campuses:

CITRIS @ Davis: 1127 Kemper Hall, College of Engineering, UC Davis
CITRIS @ Merced: Science & Engineering II, Room 302, UC Merced
CITRIS @ Santa Cruz: Room 595B, Engineering 2 Building, Baskin School of Engineering, UC Santa Cruz