Here Come the Robots
How long do we have until the robots takeover like in the Terminator movies? What secret programs have militaries around the world already developed with dangerous robots and what kind of activities are they programmed to perform? Should we be worried? Is there any way we can avoid it?
As evidenced by the recent triumph of Watson the computer over the human champions on Jeopardy the game show, the robots are overtaking us. Beginning in 1997, computers started beating the world chess champions regularly. The singularity, the point where artificial intelligence surpasses mankind’s intelligence, is approaching. Futurist Raymond Kurzweil predicts that in 2019 the processing power of robots will surpass humans.
When the robots know more than we do, what’s to stop them of launching the nukes and doing away with the world’s nastiest life form, us? It may depend on whether or not robots develop a social sense (or we develop it for them). They will need to be equipped with morals, emotions and other social skills. That way, they may feel sorry for us and spare us, the imperfect humans. Hopefully, they may even help us to improve ourselves. The danger is that industry or government will be overzealous in robot building to achieve their objectives of achievement and wealth and overlook flaws and failures or neglect the robots’ softer sides. Just like human intelligence, artificial intelligence should be a balance of yin and yang or masculine and feminine thinking (or processing).
Even if they let us survive, the robots have been taking our jobs for years. Numerous factory and processing jobs have been taken over by robots. And of course we have built robots to do all sorts of things we can’t do such as tasks in difficult environments like the deep sea or in space. Militaries have always been big players in robot building and are amassing drones and other robots. Who will reap the benefits from robot production?
It may be possible with the ever increasing use of technology that it becomes difficult to know what interactions are with human or technical sources. For example, already telephone inquiries may be entirely handled by automated almost human voice phone systems and web sites may be generated by algorithms. Some people are more engaged with their digital devices than with other people. Maybe we will slowly continue blending with our digital devices so that the difference with be indistinguishable.