AI: Is Humanity Ready for Human-like Robots
By Zuko Komisa
The quest to improve our lives through modern technology and Artificial Intelligence has seen many discoveries and breakthroughs in inventions, many of which have raised alarm bells in a society whose very existence might be threatened by the existence of machines. We are seeing more and more technological advancements which will ultimately change the world as we know it.
In recent years, the introduction of driverless cars, robotic artificial limbs, and augmented reality, it is clear that the fourth industrial revolution has reached the point of no return. At the recent Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh, a human-like robot named Sophia was unveiled and granted citizenship by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is a first in many regards, giving a robot equal status as a human being, a declaration of trust in a new technology without the foresight of the potential problems this may cause in the future.
The Sophia development is particularly concerning as the was no clear definition of the Social and Legal Rights this robot will have. There have been laws put in place to protect humans from injury by robotics, especially here in South Africa. There are also many layers to consider when introducing to the world, what could potentially become a new species; a re-creation of ourselves by ourselves.
Sophia has the ability to teach itself an emotion, and is an impressive self-learning machine with infinite access to all the data ever output and is a constantly updating its (or do we say her?) knowledge base. Saudi Arabia is in the process of building an entirely new city worth US$500 billion which will be fuelled heavily by investment in robotics.
Movies such as District 9, iRobot, Blade Runner 2049, Transformers, Power Rangers, Ex Machina, Terminator, and Chappie gave us an idea of what a world with machines could look like. It’s almost surreal to believe that this is now a reality in the world in many places.
The real question is, are we ready for a world that is computerized, sharing our humanity with robots who have manufactured emotions and more intelligence that than the average Joe? Are we safe, are we participating in framing the kind of world we will live in?
Is humanity ready human-like robots? Or have we gone too far?