The prospect of robots taking over the world is a very interesting theory, and is something that needs a great deal of careful thought. We are obviously well aware of the advances in technology nowadays, as we have machines to cope with vacuuming the carpets, washing cars, and cleaning our clothes and dishes. We have been able to free ourselves of endless files full of unnecessary paperwork too, with the regular advancement of computer systems and revolutionary file storage facilities and all easy to operate by touching just a few buttons! What if we took things a stage further, though, and robots were produced to do just about everything, from ironing, making beds and gardening; to perhaps driving, running a business and even looking after the kids?
The prospect of robots being given too much responsibility does begin to scare me a little. Although robots could be built to tackle many tasks in life, there are two main functions that they still can’t reliably perform and those are: to think reliably for themselves and reproduce effectively without human assistance. This would obviously question the level of responsibility that could be imposed on a robot, as it wouldn’t be able to react to injury, pain, suffering, violence and radical thinking. Reproduction of the mechanical species would obviously be a “must” if the robot were to continue in the world and strive to take over.
In May 2005, researchers did, however, make quite an amazing breakthrough by inventing robot cubes. These cubes each contained a microprocessor and, by using several of them together to make a shape and then adding more cubes, they could actually begin to build an identical copy of themselves in a matter of minutes. Does this discovery actually take the robot a step closer to the human? Unfortunately, the robots still required human assistance to perform their reproduction. They also lacked intelligence, the ability to handle variation and adapt to new situations. However, is this just the beginning of what may be developed in the future, or are we still a long way off the potential threat of the pioneering robot?
In 2001, Stephen Hawkins, who is scientist and writer, stated that computers were advancing all the time and that the human brain needed to advance at the same rate, or higher, to keep ahead of the game; otherwise computer technology would eventually take over the world. He suggested, that as humans develop at a much slower rate than technology, that they should consider the possibility of changing their DNA through genetic modification. He also stated, that as the human brain is a very complex organ with a huge capacity, that a direct link could be formed between the technology of a computer and the human brain – this would allow a contribution to human intelligence rather than trying to override it. If this happened we could quite possibly become even more of an amazing piece of machinery than we already are – it is, however, hard to believe that humans are able to create something that actually functions better than they do!
Apart from considering the impact of robots on the human race, we need to consider their impact on nature too? As humans are unfortunately the superior species, it is likely that nature would automatically suffer through neglect and lack of understanding by the robots. Nature would not have the knowledge or power to fight back and establish a place in the world, leaving it with nowhere else to go other than into extinction.
Scientists have to admit that the robot is still not close enough to biology to think, act and reproduce as effectively as humans. It may even be dangerous if we were able to produce a machine that was so close to biology that it could begin to do all these things for itself. Without careful planning, something as complex as this could go drastically wrong and, instead of trying to take over the world, these newly created beings may just destroy it!