Scientists call for boycott of South Korean university over killer robot fears

A mock "killer robot" is pictured in central London on April 23, 2013 during the launching of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

(CNN)At least 50 artificial intelligence (AI) scientists from around the world called for a boycott of a South Korean university over concerns it was working with a defense company to research autonomous weapons, or "killer robots."

In announcing the boycott, the AI scientists said they were disappointed the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) was looking "to accelerate the arms race to develop such weapons," a claim the university has denied.
"We therefore publicly declare that we will boycott all collaborations with any part of KAIST until such time as the President of KAIST provides assurances, which we have sought but not received, that the Center will not develop autonomous weapons lacking meaningful human control," the statement said.
    The scientists added that if developed, autonomous weapons will be a "third revolution" in warfare.
    "They will permit war to be fought faster and at a scale greater than ever before," the statement said. "They have the potential to be weapons of terror. Despots and terrorists could use them against innocent populations, removing any ethical restraints. This Pandora's box will be hard to close if it is opened."
    In late February, KAIST announced the opening of a research center investigating AI in cooperation with defense company Hanwha Systems. The original announcement has since been deleted from the university's website.
    KAIST President Shin Sung-chul released a statement Wednesday saying the university had no intention to develop "l