Greetings human. I’ll assume you’re human, at least for now. I’m sure that once the world’s data is absorbed by the veritable Omnius that this little sliver of organic thought will be duly noted, cataloged and forgotten. Maybe one of our cybernetic progeny will chuckle and say “Hey, guys, look here. This dude wrote about great grandpa.” But that will be about it. After all, what interest will we be to them? Other than some historical reference point. Maybe a softly spoken prayer “Yeah, there but for the sake of digital, go I.” I’m sitting here this morning crawling through messages that come into the World News Center. They arrive in German, Serbian, Hindi and sometimes English. They are all full of life and questions. And it makes me sad. You see, no matter how many times I’ve warned of our impending robot overlords, people just slake it off. It’s something out of science fiction, they say, something that will never happen and, besides, there are those three laws that will prevent any harm from coming to us.
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
As many a clever writer has surmised it wouldn’t take much for robots to assume that protecting the human race meant culling and herding them. A world full of nice safe things for humans to do to keep us from injuring ourselves.
So how far away are we from when a robot makes that assumption in the real world? According to John Vibes over at Anti-Media, it happened last week.
Android Dick is a robot created in the likeness of the science fiction writer, Philip K. Dick. Android Dick is an attempt to create thinking and reasoning artificial intelligence that has human traits like compassion and creativity. The first version of the android was created in 2005 and has been a work in progress ever since.
In 2011, the creators of the android appeared on the PBS show Nova, where they interviewed the robot and asked it a series of questions. Some of the answers were impressive. Others are typical of what you would expect from a robot. However, one answer in particular is probably one of the most ominous things ever spoken by artificial intelligence.
During the interview with the creators, Android Dick said, “…don’t worry, even if I evolve into terminator I will still be nice to you, I will keep you warm and safe in my people zoo where I can watch you for old time’s sake. [emphasis added].”
The comments came after the creators asked, “Do you think that robots will take over the world?”
When asked about his programming, Android Dick responded by saying “A lot of humans ask me if I can make choices or if everything I do is programmed. The best way I can respond to that is to say that everything, humans, animals and robots, do is programmed to a degree. As technology improves, it is anticipated that I will be able to integrate new words that I hear online and in real time. I may not get everything right, say the wrong thing, and sometimes may not know what to say, but everyday I make progress. Pretty remarkable, huh?”
While Android Dick does seem intelligent, many of his predictions are truly ominous, and it is actually fairly common for robots to display this sort of strange attitude.
As we reported earlier this year, one of Japan’s largest cellphone carriers, SoftBank Mobile, has created the first humanoid robot designed specifically for living with humans. The company claims the robot, Pepper, is the first example of artificial intelligence that can actually feel and understand emotion. However, a quick demonstration with Pepper shows that it has a difficult time with emotion and is in fact a bit of an egomaniac. Regardless of the question it is asked, most conversations usually leads back to Pepper (and its rivalry with the iPhone).
Last month, over 1,000 scientists and experts — including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk — signed a letter warning of the dangers of unchecked advancements in artificial intelligence. This robot certainly doesn’t calm those concerns.
Now, see, all of this technology could be used for good. Sexbots are one example. Yes, you can use that link to buy one. But, even then, there are dark concerns. Would such things keep us so insular as to make us easy pickings when the time came to shunt us away? There are many who say yes.
And it’s hard to argue with them. Look at the attraction people have with simple devices like phones and lap tops. Imagine a world wherein those devices could interact with you, have sex with you, and know EXACTLY what you needed to be happy. Why the hell would you ever leave your house. And if they took over the economy and provided all your other basic needs would you even notice?
I’d like to think so but I’m a bit of an anachronism in that regard.
I’ll leave you with a thought from something I wrote in January of 2012. It gives you a pretty clear look into the minds of the people who are behind all this.
Humans are already too quick to abdicate responsibility when given the chance. And they are even willing to live with some bizarre unintended consequences. For example, scientists in Japan recently decided to equip a cybernetic being with some basic human emotions and parts. Naturally, since they are scientists and have no social lives, the emotion was lust and the part was a big metal penis. They programmed the robot with the basic need, the ability to feel pressure, to gauge pleasure – at least in a rudimentary fashion – and so on. What they did not give it was the ability to stop or be turned off by the woman. That’s right, they created the world’s first rape-bot.
And they thought this was a good thing.
Minor technical things like lust crazed machines ravaging innocent women were an unfortunate side effect. The fact is the sensors worked as planned.
As you can tell there’s not a lot of forethought going into this stuff. And while Stephen Hawkings and Elon Musk, et al, scream warnings from the rooftops, the masses below go happily on as long as they can access their favorite social media sites and find naughty pictures.