2016. All of sudden, here we are, in the middle of some of the greatest human achievements known to humans. Robots are quickly becoming more “human like” everyday. We have more information in our smartphone than NASA had to take off in its first rocket. Elon Musk is concerned about “robots taking over the world” – okay that was a dramatic statement, but the real Iron Man does have a point. Technology is becoming smart, so are we going to be outsmarted by artificial intelligence one day? Well we can’t really say, but we move forward, and sometimes with caution.
The question is, who has power over this technology. It has to work for all, or it won’t work, at all. Unmanned systems such as drones or flying robots, can potentially impact our lives tremendously. Picture the Ventana Wilderness in California, serene and calm, but unfortunately, the large redwood trees are catching fire. Firefighters are on their way, but emergency dispatch can send a drone to see the source of the fire, to see where it’s spreading and to make things run much more efficiently. The technology is there and this is even being done in some places. Here’s a way to get into sticky areas (hazardous, bomb threat) without putting anyone’s life in danger. It almost seems like the stuff we see in movies – humans tucked away in a room, still putting out that forest fire.
When you look at the technology, this is why there are restrictions in place. This can sometimes be frustrating to a good-natured person whose only intention is to shoot the beauty around her, but could we do without? Autonomous machines are used often in military, where this can be helpful to a nation or a particular group of nations – but from a global perspective, nobody wins. It also distances us from what and who is on the other side, furthering us from the ‘other’ nation, or people, we might be attacking.
To be clear, autonomous machines are not just in the air, they’re walking as well. Robots have made huge advancements. Many feel that the AI’s, that we’ve been watching in sci-fi films for years, are around the corner. Some of you might say, and correctly say, we need policies and procedures to ensure these technologies become effective tools for all of us. But ‘effective’, is a label that everyone defines differently. And the more policies and procedures we have when it comes to unmanned machines, the slower the progress might be. So finding the right balance might be the hot topic for the next few years.
So we’ve come full circle. Is this why Elon was afraid? Stephen Hawking & Steve Wozniak among others also joined forces to speak about this. And really, we should. This isn’t away from our realm, this is present day, 2016. So let us know, what do you think?