Belgian scientists letter on autonomous weapons

As members of the Belgian artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics research community, we wish to thank the Belgian government and parliament for its interest in the broad field of AI and robotics.

As you know, AI and robotics research have made spectacular advances during the last decade. Soon we will see self-driving cars, autonomous aircraft and many useful applications of these technologies. These technologies can greatly contribute to our society as a whole.  As with all technological developments, AI and robotics can have positive and negative applications. Therefore these transformations actual and potential demand our understanding and, increasingly, our heightened moral attention.

As members of the Belgian artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics research community, we express our deep concern about the development of fully autonomous weapon systems, which lack meaningful human control over the critical functions of targeting and engagement in every attack.

We join similar efforts by international colleagues and CEOs in August 2017 and July 2015, and by researchers in Australia and Canada in November 2017. Fully autonomous weapon systems threaten to become a third revolution in warfare. The development and use of such systems pose serious threats to international law, as well as to human rights and human dignity. Once developed, these weapon systems will lower the threshold to become involved in armed conflict, while allowing armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever. The development of these systems will likely cause expensive arms races and lead to regional and global insecurity. Autonomous weapons are likely to proliferate rapidly, and could initiate or escalate conflicts without human deliberation. Moreover, the development of such weapon systems raises significant accountability questions, as it is unclear who could be held accountable for any misbehaviour of such weapon systems.

Urgent action to address these concerns and prevent proliferation is needed. Once this Pandora's box is opened, it will be very hard to close. We therefore call upon the Belgian government and parliament to join international efforts to preventively prohibit such weapon systems, and to resolve as a nation never to develop, acquire or deploy such weapon systems.”

The letter is still open for signatures. If you are a Belgian scientist in the field of artificial intelligence, robotics or computer sciences you can sign here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScRAIOwbOem8ODS7VnU_-Xa-_kAgTvCCC5t47ccUoIj8zEwXw/viewform?c=0&w=1 

The letter is signed by the following scientists

 

Titel

Name

Affiliation

Professor

Tony Belpaeme

Universiteit van Gent

Professor

Johan Suykens

KU Leuven

Professor Emeritus

Luc Steels

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

FNRS Research Director

Marco Dorigo

Université libre de Bruxelles

Professor

Bram Vanderborght

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Prof. Dr. ir.

Herman Bruyninckx

KU Leuven

Professor

Pieter Abbeel

UC Berkeley

Professor Emeritus

Joos Vandewalle

KU Leuven/KVAB

Professor emeritus

Hendrik Van Brussel

KU Leuven

Professor

Daniel De Schreye

KU Leuven

Professor

Marc Pollefeys

ETH Zurich

Professor

Luc De Raedt

KU Leuven

Professor

Mark Coeckelbergh

University of Vienna

Professor

Frank Dellaert

Georgia Institute of Technology

Professor

Hendrik Blockeel

KU Leuven

Professor

Aleksandra Pizurica

Ghent University

Professor

Tom Lenaerts

Université Libre de Bruxelles

Professor

Tinne Tuytelaars

KU Leuven

Professor

Frank Van Eynde

University of Leuven

Professor

Dirk Van Compernolle

KU Leuven

Professor

Pierre Dupont

University of Louvain

Professor

Bernard Manderick

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Professor

Gianluca Bontempi

Université Libre de Bruxelles

Professor Emeritus

Hugo De Man

K.U.Leuven/imec

Professor Emeritus

Pierre Verbaeten

KULeuven

Professor

Tom Holvoet

KU Leuven

Professor

Yves Moreau

KU Leuven

Professor

Marian Verhelst

KU Leuven

Professor

Joris De Schutter

KU Leuven

Professor

Pascal Van Hentenryck

University of Michigan

Professor

Liesbet Van der Perre

KU Leuven

Professor

Sofie Pollin

KU Leuven

Professor

Guy Vandenbosch

KU Leuven

Professor

Emmanuel Van Lil

KU Leuven

Director, The AI Lab

Eleonore Pauwels

Woodrow Wilson International Center

Professor, Dean

Vincent Englebert

University of Namur

Professor

Philippe Goujon

University of Namur

Professor

Michaël Petit

University of Namur

Professor

Pierre-Yves Schobbens

Université de Namur

Professor

Claire Lobet-Maris

University of Namur

Professor

Giovanni Samaey

KU Leuven

Professor

Bettina Berendt

KU Leuven

Professor

Greet Vanden Berghe

KU Leuven

Professor

Marc Van Barel

KU Leuven

Professor

Patrick De Causmaecker

KU Leuven

Professor

Roel Wuyts

imec/ KU Leuven

Professor

Raf Vandebril

KU Leuven

Professor

Wim Vanhoof

Université de Namur

Associate professor

Kris Aerts

KU Leuven

Research Manager

Wannes Meert

DTAI - KU Leuven

Research Director

Jan Ramon

INRIA / KULeuven

Senior Researcher

Olga Vybornova

Université catholique

de Louvain

Lab manager

Johan Loeckx

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Assist. Prof.

Emmanuel Vander Poorten

Dept. Mech. Engineering, KU Leuven

Dr.

Jan Tobias Muehlberg

KU Leuven

Dr. ir.

Anton Dries

KU Leuven

Dr.

Pieter Leyman

KU Leuven

Dr.

William Thompson

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Dr.

Yara Khaluf

Universiteit Gent

Dr.

Willy Van Overschée

KVAB

Dr

Mihail Mihaylov

Vrije Universiteit Brussels

Dr.

Katrien Beuls

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Dr.

Thomas Stützle

Université libre de Bruxelles

Ir.

Christof Mahieu

Universiteit Gent

Ir.

Tim van Hamme

KU Leuven

Ir.

Matthias van der Hallen

KU Leuven

Dr. Ir.

Jo Devriendt

Ku Leuven

Ir.

Dries Van Daele

KU Leuven

Dr.

Yara Khaluf

Universiteit Gent

Hoofddocent

Claudia Diaz

KU Leuven

Researcher

Paul Van Eecke

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Researcher

Pierre Pagacz

University of Namur

Researcher

Jerry Jacques

University of Namur

Researcher

Nathalie Grandjean

University of Namur

Ir.

Vincent Nys

KU Leuven

PhD

Peter Beyls

University of Plymouth

PhD

Sabine Geldof

University Antwerpen

PhD

Gianni Borghesan

KU Leuven

PhD Student

Marnix Van Soom

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

PhD student

Timothy Verstraeten

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

PhD student

Isel Grau

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

PhD student

Anna Harutyunyan

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

PhD student

Yannick Jadoul

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

PhD student

Kerem Eryilmaz

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

PhD Student

Amin Timany

KU Leuven

PhD Student

Michiel Van Lancker

KU Leuven

PhD candidate

Emad Heydari Beni

KU Leuven

PhD Student

Nitesh Kumar

KU Leuven

PhD Student

Mahmoud Mohsen

KU Leuven

PhD Student

Elia Van Wolputte

KU Leuven

PhD Student

Luca Fenzi

KU Leuven

PhD Student

Stefano Teso

KU Leuven

Postdoctoral

Diederik M. Roijers

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Postdoctoral

Enea Scioni

KU Leuven

 

Other disciplines

Title

Name

Affiliation

Professor

Walter Schaeken

KU Leuven

Professor

Joseph Van Landuyt

Universiteit Antwerpen

Professor

Steven De Feyter

KU Leuven

CEO

Dirk Fransaer

VITO

Professor

Dirk Heirbaut

Ghent University

Professor

Marc Boone

University of Ghent

Professor

Jean Poesen

KU Leuven

Professor

An Jacobs

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Professor

Koen Matthijs

KU Leuven

Professor emeritus

Symoens Hilde

Ghent University

Professor emeritus

Willy Clarysse

KU Leuven

Professor emeritus

Jan Boutmans

KU Leuven

Professor

Yves Van de Peer

Ghent University

Professor

Pieter Bergé

KU Leuven

Professor

Jan Wouters

KU Leuven

Professor emeritus

De Ridder Leo

University of Gent

Professor

Bart Keunen

University of Ghent

Professor emeritus

August Coomans

Ghent University

Professor emeritus

Itena Veretennicoff

KVAB & VUB

Professor

Maximiliaan Martens

UGent

Professor

Eric Demeester

KU Leuven

Researcher

Jorik De Waen

KU Leuven

Researcher

Nathalie Van Raemdonck

Vrije Universiteit Brussel