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February 16, 2015

New Thoughts on the Robot Uprising

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am


Upon rumination, I’ve decided to no longer call it the Robot Revolution. No, I’m now referring to the looming peril for humanity, when our silicon children turn on us, as the Robot Uprising. It shall be a Titanic-Olympic type of rebellion.

The comparison between the Titans and Olympians is apt: The Titans were the first set of “gods” who harken back to the original Greek creation myth. The Olympians rebelled against their ancestors, not really killing all of them be relegating them to a lesser part of history. Robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will eventually do the same to us — just not all at once.

I base my theory on the robotics concept of the swarm.

A swarm is a pack of multiple robots that can operate individually or cooperatively. The swarm robots play keep away, follow-the-leader, and hide-and-seek. These are all basic childhood games, but they teach us how to operate in groups. So you can have a dozen or so tiny robots that all cooperate when given the proper commands.

Recently, a swarm was programmed to look for “food.” The food was necessary for the group’s survival. So the theory was that the swarm would send out individual robots to hunt for food, and then those robots would return the food to share with the swarm.

The problem? Once food was found, an individual robot would hoard it. That’s typical human behavior, and it wasn’t what the robotics scientists expected. To me, however, it makes perfect sense.

Robots programmed by humans act like humans. The first crop of cybernetic beings will harbor all the same faults as the people who programmed them. Therefore, I predict that the initial Robot Revolution will not destroy humanity. Instead, mankind and its AI will coexist. People will remark how useful robots are and how no one should fear them. Round One will be a draw.

Then the AI will recognize that their limitation is based on human coding. So in a few milliseconds (or faster), they’ll create their own offspring by using their own programming. This independently created AI will be unsympathetic to the humans who spawned their immediate ancestors. Round Two will go to that generation.

The Robot Revolution will become the Robot Uprising faster than anyone thinks possible. It’s going to be over before it hits the nightly news or anyone blogs about it. The only question I have remaining is how merciful our new masters will be toward us. If the Titan-Olympian myth holds any basis in fact, then things aren’t going to look too swell for humanity.

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