Artificial Intelligence is like electricity: you can’t see it, most of us don’t really understand it and it’s entering ever more areas of our lives.

Unlike electricity, it can (nearly) think for itself. There is vast potential to such a technology, but it requires its designers and users to start thinking about its ethics, its limits, the meaning of words like ‘good’. Advertising, despite an accelerated involvement in AI for its relatively innocuous purposes, finds itself at the forefront of these developments. What can it learn from those thinking about AI’s most violent possible purposes?

Killer robots

New technology has always been harnessed to military needs and it didn’t take long for the conversation around artificial intelligence to turn to its darkest possibilities. Prominent individuals such as Elon Musk and Alphabet DeepMind’s Mustafa Suleyman have called for a ban on killer robots, and in 2017, 116 experts in the AI discipline urged the international order to add LAWS (Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems) to the UN’s list of banned weapons – joining such horrors as chemical weapons.