Four Reasons Why The Robots May Wreck Everything.

robot hand, artificial intelligence, AI

I, for one, have problems with our new robot overlords. (M. Levin/University of WashingtonCC BY 2.0)

While there may be some good things about the rise of the machines, an honest look at the subject requires us to examine the negative aspects of the technology in our lives. Sooner or later, these problems will catch up with us when we consider the political, economic, and cultural implications of artificial intelligence and automation. It will be impossible to predict all of the things that might happen, but there are a few areas where the science fiction of today may become the fact of tomorrow.

1. If We Screw This Up, There Will Be Massive Political And Social Unrest.

United States Capitol, robots, artificial intelligence

Oh, you think that they are not doing their jobs now? Just give it a little bit.

The last great period of upheaval in our world was arguably the Great Depression and World War II. In that day and age, a stock market crash and successive financial catastrophes led to the worst period of mass unemployment and economic malaise ever known to mankind. Abroad, the rise of fascism turned Europe into a powder keg. On the home front, the struggle led to calls for an activist government.

While arguments still rage about the effects of the New Deal, the war economy of the 1940s and the boom that followed all but assured the dominance of the United States throughout the rest of the 20th century. The turmoil of the past led to computers, wifi, nuclear power, modern aerospace, and all sorts of other innovations that we take for granted, but what if we can’t get out of the next great mess that the robots may force upon us?

According to a report by PwC, automation may take over an estimated 38% of jobs in the United States. This comes with the caveat that groups like AGZ believe it may be closer to 10%, but that only means that we need to be prepared for anything. We can’t fight another world war to get out of this without dooming the planet, so it is important to realize that we need solutions… and fast.

2. What Will This Do To Relationships?

Scarlett Johansson, robot, artificial intelligence

The road to hell is paved with eerily life-like robots that look like Scarlett Johansson. (Bobby Yip/Reuters)

While it may seem far off, there will come a time when we give life to a mechanical being that is nearly indistinguishable from a human. At that point, what will happen to our sense of self? Will genuine human connections fail because the perfect robot companion is just a phone call away? Would you or anyone else be able to tell the difference in everyday life?

While the human race probably won’t die out, it is difficult to ponder what might happen to us in the future. The rise of the machines may provide companionship to those that feel lonely, but it could also destroy marriages. It can help kids to make friends, but it can also lead to other issues that we can’t even foresee (although AMC’s Humans certainly tried). We’re in for a bumpy ride no matter what comes of this technology.

3. They Can Be The Perfect Weapon For Spies And Criminals.

Camera, artificial intelligence, robot, eye

Give it thirty years or so…

A common rule in our day and age is that it if it is electronic, it can be hacked. Present day headlines tell us that your phone can be turned on without your knowledge, hackers can wirelessly steal data, and all sorts of other dangerous things can be around the corner on the Internet. Is it really so hard to believe that spies and hackers couldn’t do the same to the robots with a wifi connection and some elbow grease?

In many ways, a humanized robot would be the perfect weapon. Those that want to do dastardly deeds don’t have to resort to blackmail or threats against someone you know. They can just find a way to hack into the cameras that we installed for eyes or the microphones that we installed for ears. Once that is done, they can learn everything that they need to know.

Of course, one easy way to fix this would be to never connect the robots to the Internet, but where is the fun (and tropey sci-fi) in that?

4. What Do We Do If They Start To Demand Their Rights?

Constitution, United States, robots, artificial intelligence

There are a lot of technicalities here.

At some point, the rise of the machines will force us to consider the unthinkable. If a machine can come across as human and develop their own personality, what reason would we possibly have to not treat them as one? If we’re being honest with ourselves, humanoid robots would need everything but food, so why would they work without pay? How long will it be before one of them notices that they can’t buy the newest fashion or that piece of technology that they can use to talk to their robot friends?

And if you want to get even crazier, a robot could theoretically be thirty-five, “born” in the United States, and a resident for fourteen years. In theory, this candidate would be the most qualified person to ever run for public office in the United States… or anywhere, for that matter.

Would you vote for him or her? Let us know in the comments!

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