A bunch of smart people called "scientists" signed a pledge to block the creation of lethal autonomous weapons -- meaning: killer robots. I guess they finally saw "Terminator."
But before we hail this unity against killer machines, consider this: It's too late. We already have killer robots. They're called drones. And if you don't get there first and make the best, most lethal ones, someone else will. See nukes.
Bottom line: The country who masters new weapons first runs the earth and, of course, the universe. It better be us, not China.
Besides, no one wants autonomous weapons acting on their own anyway. It's a myth. Consider the modern drone, a more effective weapon in that it can pick off the bad guy and spare the innocent people. It works because dozens of humans are involved operating that drone. It creates jobs. And if a drone can tell the difference between an ISIS meeting and a wedding, then banning them is wrong and evil.
Elon Musk signed this pledge against killer weapons, but he also makes driverless cars, which can be killer weapons when they screw up. But even if a driverless car screws up, it will screw up less than one driven by a mistake-prone, distracted human. 1.3 million people die in car crashes a year. Driverless cars, as scary as they sound, will make fatal car crashes as uncommon as airline disasters.
The bottom line: You can't prevent technology from leaving the barn until it's already galloped out and then you have to own it. Centuries ago, the pope tried to ban crossbows. How did that work out?