Week 8: Living with Robots

At we enter week 8 of winter quarter, I like to not talk about an artist’s work that incorporates science and technology but rather what our future holds as we continue to have highly advanced technology. What I’m talking about are robots and whether we will see them in the next couple of decades or centuries and can we live side by side with them.

 

In past centuries, humans would have never expected a society with robots that could communicate and function like humans and animals but as we live in the 21st century, movies, toys, and comic books have people now thinking that a community of robots will exist. From the upcoming movie “Chappie”, Chappie is created by an individual to learn how to interact, move, and think like a human being. However, society itself fear that the robots will be uncontrollable and thus be a threat to mankind. Why this trailer is so interesting to me is that it proposes two themes:

1) The evolution of advanced technology. While this is only a movie, scientists, artists, and technologists, are taking advantages of the technologies we have today in creating a potential robotic “human” that can do whatever a human can do, if not even better. Not only can robots be more accurate and produce high quality work, they can also protect humans from dangerous work.

Now you may be wondering how Jeopardy and robots are related. The focus here isn’t the game show but the supercomputer that competed against two of the greatest Jeopardy contestants of all time, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Although “Watson” (supercomputer) was set up for the game show, we can see the potential of what innovators can do. If a supercomputer like this can be as smart as human beings, what is there to stop them from creating a healthy environment for humans.

2) The dangers of robots: Can we live with robots? My answer is a yes and a no. Yes because robots are amazing and it seems inevitable in how far technology has gone for us. I say no because just like “Chappie,” there is a community of people that feel threaten by robots. While robots can be beneficial to many, robots causes many people to lose their jobs because of their efficiency. Not only that, robots’s intelligence will not grow unlike humans. Because robots are programmed in a certain way for that specific job, they will continue to perform how they are programmed without improvements in bettering that product. Lastly, robots are dangerous and hazardous to human beings.

(VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISE: It is slightly gory. If you are sensitive to this please do not watch)

From this scene of “Robocops,” the ED209 was programmed to fight with law enforcement but malfunctioning and “glitch” caused the robot to kill one of the members.

I think seeing robots in the next decades or centuries is possible with all our advanced technologies that we have. The biggest concern would be how to keep robot from malfunctioning and will they be a threat to society. There is still a lot of work to be done with robots but society is moving in the right direction in creating a safe and beneficial robot that will help our society. Can we live with them? I think we can but we must also be careful of our interaction with robots. If robots, can think, move, and act like humans and animals, what’s stopping them from becoming evil just like ED209. Robots are here to come but it’s the idea of how to control them that is a concern.

 

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