A letter denouncing the development of autonomous weapons has been published by members of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, held in Argentina.

Signed by 1,000 of the conference’s members, including Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, the letter points out that once one military power begins developing a viable AI weapon, that will spur virtually all other militaries to follow suit. And due to the relatively inexpensive production methods that would be required to manufacture these weapons, making them not only ubiquitous in combat, but also readily available to dictators and terrorists. The letter also warns that such readily available autonomous weapons would enable these parties to carry out their goals–whether it be assassination, oppression, or genocide–with far greater ease than what has been historically experienced.

"If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow," referring to the nigh-ubiquitous use of the AK-47 assault rifle in today’s conflicts.