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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?



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  • 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.

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