A new viral video shows a terrifying look at our future – tiny drones with a small explosive inside that are capable of killing anyone, anywhere. The internet is flipping out, sharing clips of it across social media. But is the video real?
Technically, no, the video is a mix of acting and special effects. But the technology behind it is very real.
The video, created by Professor Stuart Russell of UC Berkeley, is being used to start a movement to ban the development of “lethal autonomous weapons.” Such weapons, like the “slaughterbots” featured in the video, do not operate under direct human supervision, but use a set of programmed parameters to target and kill individuals.
Professor Russell, who has worked in artificial intelligence (AI) for 30 years, warns that countries are close to developing such weapons, which would leave no one in the world safe.
The video has caused confusion, as portions of it have been posted online, leading many to believe that tiny killer drones are being used now. However, the full video, posted below, shows that it is a slickly-produced look into a possible future. Actors and digital effects show what could happen if governments and private industry are allowed to continue development.
The video takes the viewer to an auditorium where a speaker showcases a drone roughly the size of a mockingbird. At one point the drone lands on his hand, the speaker quickly recalibrates it and then throws it out into the audience again. After a few seconds, the small drone turns back to the stage and crashes into the forehead of a dummy standing off to the left of the speaker.
The demonstration was meant to show how a palm-sized drone is capable of penetrating a human’s skull and destroying “the contents” inside.
The video was released earlier this month by the Future of Life Institute, which is backed by Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk. It was presented by Russell at a United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons in Geneva, according to The Mercury News.
“Trained as a team, [the drones] can penetrate buildings, cars, trains, all while having the capacity to evade any countermeasure. They cannot be stopped,” the speaker told the audience in the video.
He noted that “a $25 million order” can now buy a swarm of such tiny “slaughterbots” that could kill half a city.
Here is the video.
The campaign to end the development of “lethal autonomous weapons” has a website, autonomousweapons.org.