Future of Life Institute


Elon Musk and Stuart Russell (Professor of Computer Science at the University of California), along with hundreds of artificial intelligence researchers and experts, are calling for a worldwide ban on so-called autonomous weapons, warning that they could set off a revolution in weaponry comparable gunpowder and nuclear arms.

Both Musk and Russell sit on the advisory board at the Future of Life Institute (FLI), an organisation aimed at keeping AI beneficial to humanity.

The FLI wanted to help people understand the very real threat of AI weapons.  The first part of this was to counter the misconception that they were campaigning against ‘Terminator-style’ robots (which are naturally dismissed as science fiction).  We needed to demonstrate how using readily available technology could change warfare forever.

Every day, millions of people across the globe use facial recognition software on their smartphones.  And palm-sized ‘toy’ drones are now available from the local supermarket.  But what if these two technologies were merged to create something much more sinister?  This is where the story of ‘Slaughterbots’ began.

With an idea of a plausible weapon, the FLI turned to the team at Space for help developing a narrative. Described as “ingenious” by the client, Head of VFX, Matt Wood, wrote a script for the film ‘Slaughterbots’.  Armed with a killer storyboard, the Space team enlisted experienced feature film director Steward Sugg to direct the production.

Behind-the-scenes: Green screen shoot for two news presenters

After a five-day shoot across the UK, the team entered three weeks of post-production including over a hundred VFX shots (both visible and invisible).  All drones that feature in the film are CGI.

The film went viral.  To date, Slaughterbots has received over 47 million views across social media platforms.  It has received the attention of celebrities – Stephen Fry tweeted a link to the film and weeks later used excerpts from it in a content piece of his own. Stuart Russell also presented Slaughterbots in a meeting at the United Nations (UN).

The project has been heavily covered in the world’s media:

  • Beware of drone assasins: Experts warn ‘slaughterbots’ that use AI tO ID their victims could soon be commonplace (Daily Mail)
  • Slaughterbots film shows potential horrors of killer drones (CNN)
  • UC Berkeley professor’s ‘slaughterbots’ video on killer drones goes viral (Fox News)
  • Scary ‘slaughterbots’ video shows danger of autonomous killer drones (CNET)
  • Tech leaders: Killer robots would be ‘dangerously destabilizing’ force in the world (Washington Post)
  • Curbing killer robots and other misuses of AI (Forbes)
  • How ‘slaughterbots’ could become terrifying new form of warfare terrorists and governments could use to kill (Daily Mirror)

Slaughterbots is without-doubt one of the most thought-provoking pieces of content we have ever created.  It’s also a great case-study that has utilised our full in-house service offering (Production, Post-Production and VFX) to deliver a multiple-award-winning project.

  • Award logo from Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards
  • Award logo from Brand Film Festival London
  • Prolific North Awards logo
  • IndieFest Film Awards Logo


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An image from the Slaughterbots film of weaponised drones carrying out an attack