Robots seem to be slowly and steadily taking over many spheres of society and the daily lives of individuals. They have come from looking like assistants in the goings out and in to becoming mainstays in everything people do. From tasks ranging from vacuum-cleaning to chopping up tomatoes, the machines seem to be everywhere.
In the Will Smith flick iRobot, the worst case scenario looks well documented. The worst thing that can happen is a grim thought and the chances of it things turning out like that would be very slim. However, even though society is not at that point now, it is safe to say this society may be going in that direction.
The world is already at a place now where human beings are now being laid off work because of robots. The robots do the jobs faster and never get tired. While this is a good thing for the business owner, who in all fairness, is there to run a business and not a charity. The effects on the human beings affected will however be adverse. Of what use is the robot doing a good job when the benefits would not be enjoyed by the same people it is meant to benefit?
A big moral issue came up recently of LARS (Lethal Autonomous Robots). They are robots that re trained to kill. Imagine we have a robot trained for combat in war to handle guns and eliminate enemy combatants. There is no problem as long as only the bad guys get gunned down, but who tells the robot that? There is very hardly any computer that needs no servicing, what happens when the machine is not well served? The stakes here are not money or material possession. What’s at stake are human lives. What is at stake is the sniffing out of another person the precious life given to walk and roam the planet and that decision will be left to a robot? That cannot be right for sure. That cannot fly over.
There is also the case of human interaction and the fear robots taking over that. We have a possibility of crèches been run by animated creations that bring no human interface to it in anyway. The fear for those children definitely has to be there. There has to be a real fear for what will happen to an entire generation of children who have grown up being cuddle by robots. There might be a silver lining there somewhere but it is definitely not visible to the naked eye.
On the plus side of things, Knightscope a Silicon Valley company has developed a robot that can serve as security guards. They say they hope the machines will help in predicting crimes and even cut current rates by half. The 5ft, 300lb robot will not be armed with guns but carry out surveillance with cameras for the protection of lives and property. However, even in this bright case, there is still a downside of this piece of genius getting rid of actual human jobs altogether.
It will be difficult to completely rid the world of robots but whatever robots are ever able to do, the human factor should always be played in.
By Olajide Jatto