NASA, Austin robotics company partner on humanoid robots

Robot company Boston Dynamics (among many others) has pledged its support against weaponising its products with an open letter.

The letter, first shared with Axios, opened up about the breakdown of consumer trust in robots and other reasons why they should not be used as weapons.

Five other leading firms showed their support by signing on to the commitment, including Agility Robotics, ANYbotics, Clearpath Robotics, Open Robotics and Unitree Robotics.

"We believe that adding weapons to robots that are remotely or autonomously operated, widely available to the public, and capable of navigating to previously inaccessible locations where people live and work, raises new risks of harm and serious ethical issues," the companies penned in the letter.

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The firms said they would not be adding weapon technology to their robots, nor would they support others doing so. "When possible", they plan to review customer plans in a bid to avoid consumers turning their machines harmful.

The signees of the open letter called on lawmakers to "work with us to promote safe use of these robots and to prohibit their misuse. We also call on every organization, developer, researcher, and user in the robotics community to make similar pledges not to build, authorize, support, or enable the attachment of weaponry to such robots."

Boston Dynamics CEO Robert Playter said, in an e-mailed statement: "We are concerned about recent increases in makeshift efforts by individuals attempting to weaponize commercially available robots... For this technology to be broadly accepted throughout society, the public needs to know they can trust it. And that means we need policy that prohibits bad actors from misusing it."

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