It’s been said that by the year 2050 every task that is currently performed by humans will be done by humanoid like machines. That’s only thirty-four years from now. I have footwear older than that! We’ve heard these Asimov type predictions before, but now with advancements in technology burning a trail on a daily basis there is an artificial intelligence revolution. Thirty-four years at the present speed of development makes the above prediction seem more a probability than an possibility.
Imagine you are gliding to work in your driver-less car and it looses power. You don’t know how to drive – cars have been doing the driving for years and since your knowledge of automobile technology is limited, you try a couple of things, but come to the conclusion you need to call for a tow. A compact tow truck glides up to your lane and a human like robotic creature steps outs to greet you. He does an electronic sweep, determines the problem and within minutes it is on its way to service one of the other 3 billion cars occupying the highways in the year 2050. It was a simple, efficient, no fuss no muss transaction and off you go with a feeling of well-being. All’s right with the world.
Everyday tasks will be performed by artificial intelligence. When we need a dirty job done, we don’t have to hire illegal aliens, we can put a machine on the job. How safe will we be in a world run by robots? Efficiency is one thing, but safety needs to be first. When we look into the face of a human-like metallic creature are we going to feel threatened in any way or will we feel completely taken care of knowing we are in capable hands? Science fiction has sent a fearful message with the robotic take over of the world, but is this as realistic as the good that could come from using soulless beings in place of a human life?
Could we be fighting wars without huge loss of life? Could we be performing disaster relief without putting humans in further danger? Already there is technology available to answer both of these questions in the affirmative. A Google owned company, Boston Dynamics, has developed a human-like Atlas robot in their series of a scientific line of artificial intelligence. As you will see in the clip I’ve included in this article the metallic non-human is very human-like. To the point that in one scene when you see the robot getting bullied by one of its designers you find yourself feeling sorry for the robot. Will we start treating robots as if they have feelings? I think we are opening up more than cans of conveniences when we venture into artificial intelligence.
“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” . . . Issac Asimov
The pitfall may be in the basic design of the future mechanical helpers. If they are designed to look and act like humans then we automatically – without much thought give them human feelings. We are familiar with this through the way we treat our pets, we anthropomorphise. It’s a human reaction to anything we see as giving us pleasure. We feel gratitude, and gratitude is just a step away from like or love. Even simplistic robotic animals have been known to worm their way into their owner’s hearts when at this point all they do is jump and squeak. OK, where will all this lead – robot rights?
When powerful technology is in the hands of the “right” people it has done wonders for making this world a better place. What happens when robots are manufactured by the guy wearing the black hat, and who has implanted them with the chip that destroys for personal gain? I may be jumping off a deep end here, but I’m not the only one.
Leave a comment below and let me hear from you with your take on artificial intelligence in the form of a human-like being. We know it’s going to happen, but what are your thoughts on how it’s going to affect our daily life?