How Close are We to Living with Robots?
There is no doubt about it. We are entering an age in which our lives are being gradually taken up by countless tasks that require our full attention. This leaves us with a lot to do and seemingly very little time to do it. However, a lot of large corporations are making progress in the world of autonomous machines and AI. In fact, these advancements in technology previously thought to be the stuff of science fiction are all around us. You may not even realize it, but every single person on the planet could be living with robots in the near, foreseeable future.
Driverless Cars Are the First Stepping Stone
One of the prime examples of lives influenced by artificial minds or autonomous systems is the self-driving car. In the science fiction of old, like David Hasselhoff’s Knight Rider, the car (called KITT), is able to drive itself around at will. Did anyone at the time think they would be seeing the first examples of these vehicles on the streets in a few decades? Probably not. Yet here we are, driving and living with robots in cars. All you need to do is take a trip to Mountain View, CA, and see Google’s fleet of driverless vehicles for yourself.
According to Sebastian Thrun of Udacity, the self-driving car could revolutionize the way humans work and live. This applies to any other robotic system helping us in our lives. The main reason, according to Thrun, is the fact that all of the cars are connected via a massive network. If one car makes a mistake, every car connected to the network learns from it. This is where they differ from humans, and it is what could save countless lives in the future.
Are We Setting Ourselves Up For Failure?
Now, this brings to light a worry. Can people really be ok with a robotic assistant in every home in the world, all of which are connected to a single hive mind that is allowed to learn from its mistakes and make semi-conscious decisions? To a lot of people, this seems like humanity setting itself up for a real-life re-enaction of the Terminator movies. The truth of the matter is that living with robots isn’t going to be an easy task. It is going to take humanity some time to get used to, and some people never will.
Living With Them Might Not Be The Real Problem
There is currently a lot of animosity and skepticism directed towards driverless cars like the Tesla Model S. The main reason for this, according to Google engineers, is that while the cars can cope with the normal road procedures, dealing with stressed, hyper-caffeinated and erratic human drivers is the real problem. We aren’t the calmest beings in existence, and one look at the statistics of road accidents caused by lawless drivers should tell you exactly that.
With a few more years, possibly a couple of decades of development under their belt, robotics companies could very well be turning out personal assistants who look, feel and sound human, but are linked to a network of similar products, controlled by an artificial intelligent center. Pretty soon, the question might evolve from whether we are ok with living with robots, to whether they are ok with living with us.