Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Why are humans scared of robots?

"If popular culture has taught us anything, it is that someday mankind must face and destroy the growing robot menace." Author and robotic engineer Daniel H Wilson's description of How to Survive a Robot Uprising seems like it is straight out of a robot disaster movie. From Terminator and Blade Runner to Transformers and Star Trek, robots are coming and the impending apocalypse is almost upon us. At least that's what Hollywood would have you believe. 
[...] "The problem with tools - which is what robots are - is that we become dependent on them," says Wilson, whose new novel Robopocalypse is being made into a film directed by Steven Spielberg. "That's scary, so we contemplate the disaster scenarios that could come from being over-dependent on tools. It's true - our tools could fail someday - but it doesn't mean they're malevolent or immoral or have an ethical bias." 
[...] "You can see your laptop or your mobile phone as autonomous - it is doing many things without you pressing buttons," says Dr Kerstin Dautenhahn, professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Hertfordshire. "There is nothing scary about robots becoming autonomous, it is just a machine being programmed." 
[...] "Robots are just a bunch of metal and silicon," says Prof Dautenhahn. "They have no agenda - this is what's different from the movies. They have no hideous plan. You should not be scared of robots. If you are scared, then you are scared of the people building them."
By Alex Hudson

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