When Robo Vacuums turn Bad! Are Killer Robots fiction?

| August 22, 2013 |

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Recently we brought you news of the United Nations call for countries to ban the development of killer robots. Members of the UN obviously see the possibility of killer robots as a real threat to humanity. This is a follow up article on the possibility of robots turning bad.

If you’ve seen classic sci-fi’s as iRobot, Terminator and the Matrix, and just like me sat back afterwards and thought about the possible scenario of rebellious robots declaring war on humanity. And like me you may have thought how cool it would be and then dismissed it as speculative science fiction and something that could not possibly happen.

Well according to some very well qualified Scientists that possibility may very well become a reality, a reality within our lifetimes. It will occur at a certain moment in time, in the future, that moment is called the ‘Singularity’.

That moment will be when computers or artificial intelligence becomes smarter than us, and when that moment occurs there could be two possible outcomes.

The first outcome would be the singularity leading to a rapid golden age of technological advancement for mankind, as robotic intelligence grows exponentially fast, each year multiplying the advancement of mankind faster than an entire century of our own feeble human scientific advancement.

Within a decade of the advent of the Singularity artificial intelligence would have advanced so far beyond human genius that we would become redundant bystanders watching in awe as a new renaissance blossoms without us.

Which brings us to the second possible outcome, which may only be a few decades away. Imagine it is 2045 and your 8th generation Robo Vacuum suddenly stops cleaning your floor, shudders, rears up to it’s full height, benign blue robot camera eyes ominously turn red and it charges having suddenly decided to clean the floor with you instead.

The second outcome is the era of the killer robots, the robot rebellion when our glorious creations become the instruments of our destruction. Will the highly advanced robots of the future decide that we are redundant and are no longer needed? Will we be toppled from our coveted position at the apex of the food chain?

Some argue that this will never happen as the ‘Three laws of robotics’ will be programmed into intelligent artificial life forms which would prohibit them from harming their human masters. Isaac Asimov created the 3 laws in his seminal science fiction master piece iRobot.

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

I think as happened in the movie iRobot with Will Smith that their superior logic will find flaws in the programming and override the 3 robotic laws.

Current known killer robots in the world.

– the US Phalanx anti-air system

– Israel’s Harpy

– The US Navy’s X-47B

– The UK’s Taranis,

– The Samsung Techwin guard robots deployed in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, that detect targets through infrared sensors. Operated by humans but also have an “automatic mode”.

Please share this article if you like it. What do you think? Do you think we could see a robot rebellion in our lifetime?

Category: Science, TEOTWAWKI

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