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Boston Dynamics vows not to weaponize its advanced robots

SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) – Boston Dynamics, an American robotics company owned by South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor, on Thursday (U.S. time) backed its commitment not to arm its cutting-edge robots in an open letter signed by five other robots , said manufacturers, namely Agility Robotics, ANYbotics, Clearpath Robotics, Open Robotics and Unitree.

“We promise that we will not weaponize our advanced mobility and general purpose robots or the software we develop,” the robot makers said in this open letter to the robotics industry and its communities.

The signatories of the letter warned that “the addition of weapons to remotely controlled or autonomously controlled robots, widely available to the public and capable of moving to previously inaccessible places, where people live and work, creates new risks of harm and serious ethical causing problems”. “Untrustworthy people can use them to violate civil rights or threaten, harm and intimidate others,” they continued.

However, these robot manufacturers have made it clear that they are not questioning the existing technologies that countries and their government agencies use “to defend themselves and enforce laws”. They called on policymakers to join their efforts to “promote the safe use of these robots and prohibit their misuse”.

Founded in 1992 after a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston Dynamics developed four-legged and two-legged robots dubbed “Spot” and “Atlas” respectively. Hyundai Motor acquired an 80% stake in the American company in June last year.

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