By Susie Steimle

REDWOOD CITY (KPIX 5) — What sounds like the stuff of science fiction – killer robots – is a real threat, according to researchers. And now a Peninsula lawmaker is trying to do something about it.

Robots are buying our groceries, patrolling our streets, and even helping us navigate busy airports. Artificial intelligence is a part of our daily lives but San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa wants to pass laws to make sure these robots don’t become killer robots.

On Tuesday, Canepa introduced a resolution to ban, in his own words, “autonomous weapons, AKA, killer robots.” If the resolution is adopted, San Mateo County would be the first in the United States to urge Congress and the United Nations to restrict the development of weaponized robotic technology.

“As policy makers, for us to catch up with technology we ourselves have to be out in front of it,” said Canepa. “So that’s why we’re working on this issue.”

“Now is the time to act before we feel the threat is present,” said Dr. Todd Davies, Symbolic Systems Program Associate Director at Stanford University.

Davies has been working closely with University of California, Berkeley Professor of Computer Science Stuart Russell the man behind “Slaughterbots,” a video that went viral showing the damage autonomous drones could cause.

Both Davies and Russell are leading AI researchers and among the 3,400 researchers who recently signed an open letter calling for a ban on autonomous weapons. Russell also helped Canepa craft his proposed resolution.

“None of us will be safe even in our homes if autonomous weapons are allowed to proliferate,” said Davies.

“I believe in my heart of hearts this [resolution] is something we have to do,” said Canepa.

Supervisors continued Canepa’s resolution Tuesday. They will take it up again January 24.

Comments (23)
  1. Tony Konte says:

    They restrict guns there too so did that stop murder. Leftist loons trying to socially engineer human nature.

  2. Jim Bruckner says:

    I propose we ban elected left wing supporters of infant execution…

  3. What a laugh. California should concentrate on their arsonist homeless and illegals. Leave the military gear to the experts.

  4. Dale Warren says:

    It’s too bad that radical, alt-Left, anti-American, socialist, Progressive Democrats in California lack the resolve to draft, introduce, and pass a ban on killer illegal aliens. How many Californians have been murdered by killer robots compared to the number of Californians murdered by criminal illegal aliens?

  5. Yeah, that’s fine… Until everyone else has them but us…

  6. Killer robots who cross the border should be exempt though.

  7. Let’s outlaw murder while we are at it. Problem solved.

  8. David Kachel says:

    California: home of the extra special STUPID people!!!

  9. Yeah, and Chicago banned hand guns. How’d that work out? Ban the killer robots and only the killers will have the robots.

  10. It’s too late to stop International Cyber Warfare. If we make our own illegal, how will we combat those who are against the USA? I say we develop anti-warfare systems of our own devices that will take out any foreign enemy who tries to destroy the people of this country and give the only keys to the elected President in charge.

  11. Chris Gamm says:

    So he’d prefer actual U.S. citizens fight and die on the battlefield as opposed to keeping our people safe by developing an AI army to maintain our military dominance?

    1. That’s honestly the dumbest thing I’ve read or heard someone say this year. Congrats on that. Real demonstration of ignorance. Glad we have the internet so people can do that.