Will Robots like us or End us

in philosophy •  last month


I’m quite convinced the end of mankind will be brought about by some quick to anger halfwit that simply thinks he’s having a laugh by picking on a Robot.
It’ll be a robot walking down the street, probably on an errand for his owner when it encounters someone we’ll call Jacob who decides to shove the metal servent.
The man will think it’s fun, standing in the way of the robot as it tries to find a way around; the man feeling powerful as he’s secure in the knowledge the programming protects him.
But does it?

Programming doesn’t always work out the way we want it to, check out any new website or app and you’ll get to see how robots will evolve.
There’s hiccups we don’t see.
Sci-fi books call it ‘the ghost in the machine.’

A good example of it is the programmers working on a system for Robots to rescue human; California computers that when facing one human in danger they save the human. Two humans in danger they chose one they can save... but three humans in danger... the robot lets all three of them die. Doesn’t even try to save one.

Which the logical side of my brain wonders if it’s simply because the computations for three people become too much, it freezes up and lets them all die due to confusion.

The philosophical side of my brain wonders if the Robot simply computer it, realized that humans keep finding new dumb ways to die... and just lets all three of them die. Why risk himself if we’re just going to turn around and need saving again.

Which brings us forward to the man taunting the robot on the street, at some point this Robot is going to realize whatever it does it’s still going to have to deal with that man.
All men actually.
Deal with this man and there’ll just be another one around the corner.

This robot, and this man, will decide the fate of the entire human race in
And I don’t think it’s going to end well for us.

Then again Robots might be more forgiving than humans, our hope could be that Robots decide that we aren’t all like that man or the man up the street. It could decide that taking the man out and leaving us alone works.

That situation... also doesn’t end well.

A robot takes out a human then the rest of us will want that robot put down. A self aware robot will not want to go quietly.

What if he has friends?

So what’s our choice?

Leniency? You killed a man, it’s not our place or in our best interest to deactivate you... perhaps prison for robots?

These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

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Programming requires to consider all options. Otherwise, we end up with cases and stories like those you mention. I don't think robots will end us. We are doing this very well alone :)

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Isaac Asimov in his story collection 'I, Robot' comes up with very ingenious ways in which robot logic can go wrong!