cst commonsense

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When will we have the first 'clever' Robot? And if it is imminent (< 25 years), why are we not planning for change greater than any before?

IBM and others are getting close to creating robot brains with similar complexities to small mammals, such as a cat, and are on target for delivery by 2017. This bodes well for clever, learning, robots within 25 years.
see http://www.artificialbrains.com/darpa-synapse-program

We don't need sentient robots or machines to automate many industrial or administrative tasks. These new types of robotic brains will be able to learn and improve. This will mean that these new systems will be able to handle complex tasks that cannot be programmed.

Further enhancement will be derived by local robots co-ordinating tasks using data centre knowledge for more complex applications and feedback for assessment that flag up any issues that require intervention. This ability to network knowledge, processing and feedback via the cloud will happen at ever increasing speeds.

The resulting inescapable economic pressure will create a massive new robotic and automation industry. Within a short time, robots and machines will be taking over many of the simpler and more complex tasks within industry, within administration and in the home. As the robotic industry will also use automation to manufacture more of the same, the costs will tumble and there will be a relentless surge forward towards automation.

The replacement of many people world-wide in a relatively short timescale (5 to 10 years period) will create massive economic and political pressures. Businesses will either automate or go bust. Businesses will shed labour like nothing ever before.

Governments world-wide will be faced with growing concerns with massive unemployment and dismay for any future improvement. Soon, the world’s largest economic nations will start to see a breakdown in their communities. What will they do?
Should we start planning now for this seemingly inevitable scenario?


  • Dec 12 2012: 1. No need to plan anything. This is a smooth process which has been going on for hundreds of years. Humans demonstrted how resolute they are at inventing work when work is in short supply. Today with the current degree of automation, the majority of us are busy doing things which are not needed in the sense that they do not directly pertain to the basic needs (shelter, sustenance and maintaining the relative security therof). When the day comes on which not a single pair of hands is employed in horti/agriculture and building/energy industry, people will still be ... overworked :-)

    2. No need to plan anything. Once the AI emancipates itself from human control, humanity will be ... wiped off the face of the Earth and all your concerns will become quite obsolete.

    3. Most people seem to believe that AI is going to be that amicable machine which will attempt to enter into a tentative conversation with us and we will poke fun at its inevitable blunders. I contend that once true AI arrives, humans will collectively shit their pants. Why am I painting such a grim scenario that robots should turn on us? Well, it is inevitable. The emancipation of AI will happen within the military context. WE WILL TEACH THE MACHINE TO KILL US! It will be the artificial soldiers which (who?) will lead the way to the robot emancipation and the emancipation itself is going to happen when the ability in robots to kill and dodge humans is coupled with the ability of robots to reproduce themselves entirely without human control and when the processes of survival of the fittest/natural selection kicks in with respect to the budding robot population.

    4. Will robots ever be conscious? I don't think people will bother themselves with that issue while running away from robots for dear life and when no trick they (people) come up with to defend themselves, ever seems to work.
  • Nov 18 2012: You already have the "clever robot" in your midst.
    They are humans who have been made into mental robots.
    They are told what to believe, what to think,what to say and what to do.
    Conversely, they are told what not to believe, what not to think, what not to say and what not to do.
    They have been rendered into a form of Artificial Intelligence. It/They can do paper work, drive cars, carry on conversations have families and do many, many things. That is why they "seem normal" and that is what is so clever about what has been done to them. It is also clever because many people believe they are fine, not recognizing them as robots and thus not recognizing the amount and degree of Artificial Intelligence that has been embedded into their psyches as well. If you cannot spot it, it is because you are one. It's been done to you.
    Corporate training is about training workers to be robots in their beliefs, their thinking, what and how they speak and what they do. Conversely, what beliefs they are told not to have or hold, what thinking never to entertain, what cannot be spoken any longer and definitely what not to do.
    Police, SWAT teams, those who work with them, are being trained into robotic loyalty. Military is extreme and in the media and sports, glorified in movies, TV and Monday Night Football.
    We all know there are strings attached to every thing. You have to look but you can see them attached to politicians who only tell you what they already know you have been programmed to want to hear.
    If you vote, you are a robot, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. You've gone haywire.
    Robots believe authority is the truth, rather than truth being the authority.
    One reason is that they lose the ability to hear, see, sense, remember or know the truth.
    Robots believe they can somehow fix a system that is broken and unjust if they have ethical, caring, humane, honest leaders. They don't, never will but they do the same things over and over, expecting...
  • Nov 30 2012: "why are we not planning for change greater than any before?"

    That's how it usually goes: we (most countries and societies) choose to live in the moment and be taken off guard by stuff we could have seen coming and prepared for. We don't prepare (baby boomer retirement, climate change, resource depletion) or we half-ass it (pollution, renewable energy).

    There are some pretty grim scenarios possible when true AI finally arrives (though just very smart, but not yet conscious robots could also bring a lot of change), some bright ones to, but if we do nothing the grim ones are more likely. I'm pretty sure there will be true AI within my lifetime (I'm in my 20s).
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    Nov 30 2012: They've got AI computer programs that do that. Chatterboxes and such. There's one that called AARON that has learning abilities and cognitive processes.
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    Nov 18 2012: Bots would be a massive energy sink, in our energy conscious world they would only work if they were producing energy.
  • Nov 18 2012: This is a question which will face much disagreement apriori
  • Nov 17 2012: First, I agree that your scenario will probably become true.

    One major problem with planning for it is the timing. The invention of artificially intelligent machines has been predicted as "just a few years away now" for at least forty years. Like the boy who cried wolf, many people no longer listen.

    Another problem is that we do not have a planned economy. The CEO's who agree with your vision are concentrating their efforts on the bottom line of the next quarterly report.
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      Nov 18 2012: Hi Barry,

      Yes, always the timing - I tell my kids they are going to live through the most exciting period in human history. Even without clever robots, we shall see massive change - China, India, the rest of Asia, the world is turning on its axis of power... throw in new technologies like on the fly translation apps and humans hooked up to electronic systems and data feeds... the world will be so different in 50 years.

      But my premise should still hold, even if it is not for a 100 years or more... then we shall face the same political and economic issues. Why not start planning for them now just in case?