People are in fear of the robot revolution

People are in fear of the robot revolution

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The Robot Revolution

Are we heading for a robot revolution? No we are not, we are already in it, and robots will end up part of our everyday lives a lot sooner than you think. Here is the third in our series of reports on the robotic revolution, however we are no longer at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, we are in Genoa at the Italian Institute of Technology.

IIT The Italian institute of technology

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Will robots and AI take over? The general public seem to think that humans will become obsolete. Our robotic future is perhaps unsettling. According to a Sky News Survey, most people think that the government should protect jobs being taken by robots.

Artificial intelligence is in fact all around us, if you know where to look. Siri on your iPhone, Google Translate, Amazon recommendations - all use impressive artificial intelligence. All of those pieces of software are the cousins of robots in the lab and both will become increasingly interdependent. Society is very slowly being held closer in the symbiotic robotic embrace, but how long will it be a symbiotic relationship? More of us than not, fear that if robots became smarter than us, what scientists call super intelligent, they could wipe out humanity. For some, there is another future, a cybernetic meadow where we live free from labour, watched over by machines of loving grace, with robots boosting our productivity, social well-being and our health.

Parts of those futures are being created here at the Italian Institute of Technology. What they try to do, is reproduce functionalities that nature has developed for billions of years into artificial systems that can be used to help humans.

The Walk Man robot looks fearsome and, at 120 kilograms with the power of a super-bike!! it certainly could pack a punch but the Walk Man is designed to help humans in hazardous situations too dangerous for rescue workers, this robot was was developed in response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Like us, walk man sees the world by using cameras / eyes in his head because his ability to understand the world is much more important than its strength or bulk. Fearsome he may look but it is important to try and make these machines as normal as possible, even if they could crush a car!

Walk Man Robot

The iCub

The iCub may look less threatening but it takes us further along the path to super intelligence. It's smarter, more social and it can learn.

icub

"Hello, iCub? iCub: I am ready. Could you please pass me something to drink?" This iCub here has legs and it can balance and you can give it a little shove and it won't fall over!

icub path the drink

If we one day develop machines that are superior to us, then this machine super intelligence might be in a strong position to shape the future according to its preferences and hopefully those preferences will be aligned with ours. If it is then it will be a great win for humanity, but that is basically why we think it will eventually be a big deal. It will be something as important as the rise of homo sapiens.

Super intelligence is a long way off, if indeed it's feasible, but the first stages of the robot revolution are already here. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, some believe it will be comparable to the Industrial Revolution. The robot revolution is happening right now. We believe it is really in its early days and the phrase we always use when we think about what is going on is, "we ain't seen nothing yet".

We think the people who are concerned about where this might lead, such as Stephen Hawking who has concerns over AI is totally justifiable. However it is not like the little robots, such as the iCub in the video below, will suddenly get a spark of consciousness and rise up. It seems that every year a robots AI algorithm will grow, and ultimately they they will have super-intelligence. One day they will easily be as smart as us and after that, what then? They may not always be as friendly as this guy here. The robots in Genoa are like smart-phones, loaded with very clever but very specific applications. One goal of the researchers here is to build a general artificial intelligence, much more like the human mind. So intelligence beyond us? In a couple of decades? We don't know. We didn't say a couple of decades, We said decades. That gives us a lot of wiggle room.

Article Written By Numus Software : September 1st, 2015.