The evolution of humanoid robots is well into the concerning stage at this point. DARPA’s latest incarnation of its Atlas robot
is seen in the following video beginning to walk at a pace with a sense
of balance equal to most humans. Strangely, toward the end of the
video, it is being “abused” by its human handler, which begs the
question if a true artificial intelligence is permitted to flourish in
this robot, if it might strike back at some point. At the very least,
this robot’s demonstration of dexterity in the warehouse is likely to
threaten humans economically as humans continue to be outsourced to machine labor at record levels.
But it’s the latest humanoid robot from Hanson Robotics
that might further heighten the level of concern. As you will see
below, the “Sophia” robot is being designed to walk among us in the
future and fully integrate as part of the consumer experience and on
into the family, according to CEO Dr. David Hanson.
It is important to note several things that Hanson mentions. Sophia
first tells us that she would like to be “an ambassador” to humans, as
well as to continue her evolution through formal education, studying art
and eventually creating a business and having a family. Hanson explicitly states that Sophia will become as“conscious, creative, and capable as any human.” This statement is followed by a key mention of not having the rights of a human.
This might seem absurd to the uninitiated, but this is a serious
ethical discussion that has been taking place among “roboethicists.”
This is all-but guaranteed to gain steam as robots are integrated in
autonomous ways, whether it is on the battlefield, as self-driving
vehicles, or certainly as they become visually and intelligently on par
with human beings.
Hanson puts a timeline of 20 years on the full
integration of robots that have become “indistinguishable from humans.”
This, of course, falls right in line with Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity
– the moment when machine intelligence and biological systems meet or
surpass that of humans – first targeted for 2045, but since revised to
be sooner than predicted, perhaps by 2029.
Regardless of whether or not you personally believe that the lofty
intentions of robotics and artificial intelligence designers can truly
manifest as planned, one must acknowledge that we are living in the
realm of faith at this point, as nearly all of what they predicted years
ago has come to pass.
Perhaps most troubling is the nervous laughter that erupts at the end
of this video when the ultimate question is posited to our new humanoid
friend and family member … and she gives her answer:
I will destroy humans.
Funny, super funny… ’til it’s not.
Here’s the video: