Rise of the Robots
Some time back I penned an article about driverless racing and I banged on a bit about how Artificial Intelligence is pervading our lives and so forth. Well boys and girls, I’m here to bang on a little bit more! Now I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking ‘Gees, bit of a dramatic headline.’ Or maybe you’re thinking ‘Nothing original there, guy.’ You’d be right on both counts. This isn’t the most original heading and it’s a little dramatic, but it’s not far off from the truth. We’re heading that way. Robots are coming along with A.I. and no one really knows how it’s all going to pan out. Sexbots! Yes, robots that will perform nookie with their users are already well on their way. I’m not surprised by this and I won’t be surprised if it becomes one of the major robot industries of the future. Mankind’s most base need and pleasure is procreation and while I can’t speak for the ladies, I know that the men are going to lap it up.
The Good & the Bad
Source: factordaily You know what bothers me? It’s the fact that machine precision is better than that of a human. We’re in the process of creating machines and programs that perform tasks with more accuracy than we ourselves can. It goes all the way back to Industrial revolution – the infancy of this technological process. On one hand I have no qualms about it. I look forward to a time where humans can enjoy lives on which we’re free to pursue the things that make us happy without having to be part of the rat race. But I question the reality of it. Will there be an economy built on robots and Artificial Intelligence that can support a large human population? Will we reach a point whereby we suddenly don’t have to work and can simply kick back? And if so is the case, will this be good for humanity? It’s definitely a case of the good and the bad. On one hand having the freedom to do what we want will be great but on the other hand it can also prove quite detrimental. I mean let’s face it, there are just some people who shouldn’t have too much time to themselves!
What Happens to the individual?
Source: chatbotsmagazine Imagine you’re watching a basketball game and you’re not cheering on LeBron James, Anthony Davis or James Harden. Or you’re watching the Gran Prix and you’re not cheering on drivers like Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel or Kimi Räikkönen. No, instead you’re favourite sportsman is a robot named Jerry, Jerry-900. Jerry-900 leads the Nicks or wins the Constructors Tournament or pole volts higher than anyone in the history of the sport. On one hand I can envision this world; a world in which we’ve come to support a machine, and I can see it because people like being entertained. We love a good spectacle and if you can give us something that ups the ante, we will lap it up. But I also wonder about the actual sportsman who will be affected. The sportsman who will become despondent and change his career path when he realises he cannot compete with a machine. A ripple in time that sees the course of history change and a sports trajectory that once looked one way but is now looking a completely different way. I’m sure it won’t turn out that way. I’m sure there will be separate leagues; ones for humans and ones for robots. It’s quite possible that there will also be mixed leagues. But I would imagine that before any of this, there might be a slump in the amount of actual people who continue to pursue sport for competitive and monetary reasons. There will be a drop in human participation and then a gradual rise.
But Why All this Talk of Machines?
Source: gettyimages Good question! I recently stumbled upon a video of a robot made by Toyota taking shots on a basketball court with the kind of precision that would make any seasoned player gasp and call up his accountant. We’re still far off from agile robots although I’ve seen a video or two about a robot doing jumps that will put many of us to shame. What I’m saying is that we’re still a number of years away from having a robot that can sport the agility of an NBA athlete. What Toyota have right now is one that can take shots. It stands still and it takes precision shots. Impressive precision shots. And this is what started me off in the first place. It’s what got me thinking about the rise of machines and their capacity to replace us not just in the work place but in our places of recreation. And I’m talking about serious recreation, not that nonsense on BBC called Robot Wars where teams create glorified remote control cars to fight each other and then have audacity to call these things robots. If robots become the stars of our recreational sports, they would also cut jobs in that sector. Corporations and clubs will naturally lap the idea up because suddenly they won’t need to sponsor or pay out high salaries. Sponsorship would continue, just not in the way we’ve grown accustomed to it. Entire corporations will own a single team. You’ll have the Nike Giants, the Adidas Warriors, the Microsoft Rockets, the Samsung Riders and the Volvo Kangaroos. Will these machines ever develop thoughts and personalities comparable to us? Who knows? And if this happens, will they demand salaries, trophy wives and country club memberships?
I think that like most forms of technology, there will be pros and cons. The best tech has often showcased the dichotomy of life in that it’s been put to good use and abused. The microwave was first discovered by the military. The internet can educate and pollute our minds. Robots can help us as well as possibly destroy us. Online casino gaming is fun but it can become an addiction and while cars get us to work, they can also kill us. It is this writer’s hope that robots and Artificial Intelligence will be more of a blessing than a curse and that we as a species will work hard to make sure that our reality leans a lot more to the former and not the latter.