Will Robots ever take over the World?
Remember those science fiction movies with very intelligent robots? The ones that could, to some extent, think for themselves? Those movies always seemed to end in robot uprisings, where the machines become sentient, realize how much more powerful they are than their human masters, and try to enslave the human population of the entire world.
Anarchy and mayhem would follow, and humanity’s future would be in peril until the unassuming and unlikely hero- a la Will Smith- would come along and silence the robot army with his superior intelligence and very human reasoning.
Robot uprising? Not a chance.
Yes, science fiction movies sure do make it look as though a robot uprising is very much possible. They are, after all, machines, and we have somehow made them into so much more. Artificial intelligence is such a real thing today, and we have some form of robots driving our cars, giving us directions, and even performing complex surgery. Once the program is running, they are almost completely self sufficient. But as to whether they would take over humanity, there is absolutely no question that they would not. Unless you were an evil genius who would create a robot army programmed specifically kill or enslave the human population.
Works within Predefined Parameters
Why, you may ask. For the precise reason that your phone cannot call anyone from your contact list, or play songs from your library, unless it has been prompted to do so. And the one to prompt it is you, a human. There is absolutely no way that an artificial intelligence, in other words, a robot, will be able to program itself to do something.
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A robot is only as intelligent as the person who programs it; so, it must work within its set parameters. Even a sandbox AI needs certain parameters to function within, and it does not have the ability to cross these parameters and do something on its own. If that had been possible, we would have robot psychiatrists, writers, and investigators before we would have robot uprisings. All of these activities require thinking out the box and understanding and adapting to the subtlest of changes, and that is precisely what a robot, no matter how advanced, is capable of.
No ‘real’ intelligence
A free thinking robot that can think and decide for itself will be the foremost requirement of a robot uprising, and that is practically impossible. A robot can only follow predefined codes, which makes it impossible to do anything that has not been written and fed into it.
And to program a robot to be free thinking, you would have to program it with an endless number of variables; even then, the robot will not be free thinking in the true sense of the word because it will come to a standstill as soon as it encounters something that is not encompassed within the range of variables it was taught.
More importantly, understanding a completely emotional and subjective factor such as superiority and inferiority is absolutely impossible for a robot; for that, it has to be acquainted with subtle, minute, and often confusing notions of good, better, and best. Because of their truly mathematical nature, it would be impossible to program into a robot something that can never be truly quantified.
On the other hand…
But let us look at this question from a different perspective. ‘Taking over’ does not always mean ‘win’ or ‘possess’; it may also mean becoming ubiquitous. For instance, when you talk about social media taking over, you usually mean that it is everywhere you look, in every aspect of a person’s life.
From that perspective, yes, robots have certainly taken over. The phenomenon is self explanatory, but we would still take some time and recount how, exactly, robots have become such an omnipresent force in our lives today.
Everyday tasks with the AI
Turn your attention to the phone in your hand. It is most likely a smartphone, and if so, you definitely have an assistant. Your iPhone has Siri, the Android has Google Assistant, and your Windows phone has Cortana. All of these are artificial intelligence, in other words, robots. And they have become a ubiquitous presence in your life; you can rely on them to remind you to call your mother on her birthday and to not miss the doctor’s appointment to have that suspicious mole checked out.
You phone’s navigation system tells you the direction in an unknown city, and your car’s smart security and safety features help you drive safely on all kinds of streets. You have come to rely on them with your eyes closed, and often more than you would on real people around you, depending on the circumstances.
Difficult tasks with the AI
And it is not just in these everyday tasks that artificial intelligence is taking over. Today, robots are used for bigger purposes such as space exploration and complex surgeries. An unmanned satellite is sent out to orbit a different planet or wander about the universe, collecting data and transmitting it back to earth.
In this sense, AI is truly going where no man (or woman) has gone before, simply because they are hardier, can be built to suit certain environments, and are ultimately less valuable than human life. Robots are used to perform complex surgeries that would be too minute for a human to be able to perform them successfully.
Seen from the above perspective, we can certainly say that robots are indeed taking over the world. They are becoming more and more necessary, and we are doing our best to make them even more intelligent than they are now. It is important to keep in mind, however, that no matter how well we build them, they will still be one step behind us, for the simple reason that they will never, in a million years, come up with a single idea to make themselves good enough to replace humans. If that ever becomes possible, a human brain will be responsible for that, and the robot will again be controlled by the human race.