Friday, April 03, 2015

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords

Popular Science | In case you were wondering whether Steve Wozniak is afraid of robots, get this: He probably is. "Computers are going to take over from humans, no question," the Apple co-founder told the Australian Financial Review earlier this week. He also said that, "If we build these devices to take care of everything for us, eventually they'll think faster than us and they'll get rid of the slow humans to run companies more efficiently.” Wozniak goes into so much detail, however, wondering aloud about whether the machine will squash us like ants, or pamper us like pets, that it's hard to tell whether this was a cathartic expression of his genuine fears, or just the more respectable version of the sort of freshman-year prognosticating happening in any given dorm room, on any given night. But while Wozniak doesn't have the same prophetic gravitas as an Elon Musk, a Stephen Hawking or a Bill Gates, the list of household names who want robots to plot a path off of humanity's lawn is growing.
It's a bad time, in other words, to be staging the most ambitious robotics competition in history. Worse still, the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Finals, scheduled for June 5-6 in Pomona, California, will feature machines that walk on two legs—imagine the hubris—or skitter across rubble like giant insects. Robots will turn doorknobs, and saw through walls with power tools. The DRCis a robophobic's worst nightmare.
DARPA is fully aware of this climate of fear, and plans to tackle it head-on. “We actually take these questions about what the future is going to be like, and what the applications are, for the different technologies that DARPA helps to develop, in a very serious way.” said DRC program manager Gill Pratt in a telephone briefing earlier this month. “And we don't want to presume that we're the ones who have to come up with the answers, but we do want to be responsible for asking the questions.”


umbrarchist said...

We are the MOTIES!

The Mote in God's Eye was more interesting and though provoking than that. But it was published in 1974.

BigDonOne said...

Secure career for the future, your kids/grandkids ---> Robot Repairperson ..........