South Korea's top university in scientific research says it will not conduct any research activities that counter human dignity, including autonomous weapons.
KAIST President Shin Sung-chul made the remark to the Financial Times after more than 50 world-renowned artificial intelligence(AI) scientists announced a boycott of the university, over the ethics of its AI weapons research lab, which they fear could develop "killer robots."
The U.K.-based paper reported Wednesday that the researchers based in 30 countries issued a statement, pledging not to visit KAIST, host any visitors from the institution or cooperate in research until the university promises not to develop AI weapons without meaningful human control.
Led by Toby Walsh, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, the researchers claimed autonomous weapons would permit war to be fought faster and at a scale greater than ever before.
However, after the KAIST president issued the statement, Walsh said the university’s swift response was a success, noting it had made significant concessions by agreeing not to develop autonomous weapons and to ensure meaningful human control.
He added he would have to consult the other signatories before ending the boycott.
The university partnered with defense manufacturer Hanwha Systems to open the new Research Centre for the Convergence of National Defense and Artificial Intelligence in February, this year.
The lab focuses on converging AI with various defense technologies as well as carrying out exchanges between researchers.