TED Conversations

Siddharth Chowdhury

College student, Virtual Star Ambassador - Purdue University

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

WIll building smart self-aware robots endanger our existence in the future?

All technology is progressing, researchers are uilding smarter and more self-aware robots. If we keep developing Artificial Intelligence, one day the robots might become 100% self-aware and them realise that they are better than us in everyway - infinite knowledge, stamina, life, etc. Will this mean the end for us? To put this in an interesting way, what i wonder is the "Terminator" movie will come true??

0
Share:
progress indicator
  • Jan 13 2012: Before my answer, my question: Will nanotechnology threaten us with "gray goo" or will it automatically generate its own dark-gray muscles or light-grey eyes?

    I think that self-aware robots will not choose to endanger us. (And really, could they do much worse than we are?) My worry is semi-aware robots controlled by the Axis - or even by the Allies. (Yes, I too am a little disturbed that IBM's "Watson" avatar looks to me to be giving a Hitler salute.)
  • Dec 19 2011: I personally cannot understand the interest in creating a self aware AI. why create another problem when we can use the resources and energy we have now to solve people problems. The only motivation I can think of with creating a self aware AI is companionship or extreme laziness (for the workloads), both of which can be solved with people or smart unaware robots.

    I just dont understand the facination with AI.
  • thumb
    Dec 15 2011: i hope both will never happen ~_~ try to believe human
  • thumb
    Dec 15 2011: I actually think the biggest limit, to self aware robots, is that peole actually don't want them... If a professor, can design a professor bot, that teaches students just as efficiently, as he did... Well then... Who needs him?

    I'm actually less worried about self aware robots killing us all, than I am that they're going to make us all really boring, and sad...
    • thumb
      Dec 15 2011: yes ofcouse. they wont make us boring theyll make us 'useless'. if a professor creates a professor bot, the robot will for sure be smarter than the professor. Because it will have access to all written knowledge via the internet,etc.there is no way that one human can know everything but that is definitely possible with a robot. This might become true in every field.
      And since we a useless they might just rule us. Thats as bad as them killing us dude.
      • thumb
        Dec 15 2011: I think it is as bad... but I think it's what's going to save us... basically, what are professors with tenure famous for? Ego... We won't make ourselves useless. I actually think people will get close over and over again, but smart people will keep destroying the results... because we want to be the most important thing in the world damnit. I think literature may have saved us, and given our intellectuals a healthy fear of becoming obselete or dominated, and it might constantly make us destroy our greatest creation.
        • thumb
          Dec 15 2011: Yes, in that case we have a chance. Lets hope that if a such research is completed they destroy the results. But still I think a better solution however improbable would be to make us equally smart in some way...maybe make a chip that could be implanted in the brain or something, so that we can be equally smart and work together with robots. I think so cause we possibly might need such robots for space explorations.. Just an idea... lol
        • Dec 30 2011: Self-aware is a human thing isn't it? Isn't it that dolphins, monkeys and us have this third choice? Our we really better off? That we can say yes, no, and maybe? That means that we would have to program a machine/ios to say "maybe".. That would be against any coding that most programmers would use, and would, in my opinion, be the only way robotics/I.A. would fight against us. You have to think.. life is a consuming, stealing, and borrowing thing. All of life either borrows or steals from the other, unless it becomes extinct.. Humans made it worse because of the choice of maybe. Before us, it was more balanced.. We are not a species made to last. We invent nuclear weapons, we fight all the time, we research science until we may possibly go too far, and then on top of that... we argue about whether we should risk inventing robots that "may" possibly take over our lives. If there is one thing I've noticed from humans, it's that we are so pressed on moving forward and learning, that sometimes we overlook the consequences.
          =
          I'm all for robotics, and their advancements, I'm just afraid of the day that someone stops programming them to be helpful..
  • thumb
    Dec 15 2011: maybe we will disappear before the robots become a master of earth. Because of war, the population and reasons like that. i think the "Terminator" will be ourselves if we treat the earth like what we do now.
    • thumb
      Dec 15 2011: u have an interesting point. Yes that could be one case, afterall we are damaging the earth. Lets just wait and see which one happens first. :p
  • thumb
    Dec 14 2011: Don't worry, it won't happen.
    • thumb
      Dec 14 2011: It may happen, but not in the near future.

      Before the electronic revolution, Who imagined that a box (computer) may be able to ruin people's lives by various ways. No one expected that computers may have viruses. (how can viruses infect these boxes?...huh).

      I guess the same thing will happen with robots. We will be safe until some people program them to harm the world. (e.g a terrorist robot :P)
      • thumb
        Dec 15 2011: its not about just bad people programming robots. As i mentioned robots are becoming self-aware... what it means is that in time when they become 100% aware they will know who they are and what they are capable of. Then since they have access to all the knowledge in the wotld via internet, etc. they can just reprogram themselves or even create other robots like themselves. Think about it!
    • thumb
      Dec 14 2011: Without an explanation as to why it definitely won't happen, your comment has no value.
      • thumb
        Dec 15 2011: So, what is YOUR opinion?!
        • thumb
          Dec 15 2011: My opinion is that the laws of physics do not forbid us to build a trully intelligent machine.
          For all we know, we are ourselves intelligent machines.

          Belief in a mystical barrier is belief in magic. I don't know if we'll achieve this. But I know it is not impossible in principle.

          As for the dangers of intelligent robots, if we ever get there, I don't know. I think philosophy of the next century will have the toughest problems to solve. The line between organic life and non organic life, natural and artificial intelligence will be crossed and things will get quite chaotic. What is a subjective feeling? And is it ethical to build a machine with feelings?

          That the earth is not the center of the world was shoking.
          That humans are animals, and share 98% genes with chimps was shoking.
          That all living organisms are biochemical niches for organic replicators was shoking.

          But now... what the hell does anthropocentrism have left if our creative minds become commonplace technology ? Unless you believe in souls and spirits, whatever you think as being typically human will eventually be artificially designed, if we continue making progress. There will be no such thing as a "real person".
      • thumb
        Dec 15 2011: See my comment on Siddharth.
      • thumb
        Dec 15 2011: Quote: ".. a pre-existing belief system... which is an unreasonable reason.".

        A belief system is to me when someone follows its reasoning derived from the limited sensory information to comprehend what lays beyond the sight of mind.

        As I tried to explain in another conversation to you: anything can only be understood for what it is within and in relation to the whole of which it partakes. The desire to live, and with it most of our feelings and motivations, originate from that whole of which we are a momentary expression in the chain of generations. Unless one separates him/herself from it and get depressed, then he/she gets sick and eventually dies.

        The genome is the blueprint not the animator.
        • thumb
          Dec 15 2011: quote "A belief system is to me when someone follows its reasoning derived from the limited sensory information to comprehend what lays beyond the sight of mind."

          Derived from the sensory information??? How does this happen? Give me an example!
      • thumb
        Dec 16 2011: Maybe it was Chinese to you but I can't think of any rational thought that isn't based on mind work. And mind work in turn is based on observations made by the human senses over time. The imagery that is processed on that base is designed by the importance of information that was needed to find resources to survive. For this our way of perceiving has a limited reality.
        To know reality we have to resort to our feelings.
      • thumb
        Dec 17 2011: If you follow the development of our sensory apparatus you can see what’s the relation to the world at large.
        For sight you can start with Euglenia which is a plant like one cellular animal. A little spot on the membrane had become light sensitive so it can work its way in the direction of light. Necessary because it gets its energy from photo synthesis. This ability is upgraded thousands of times to develop our eyes and the cause ever was to distinguish something that favored survival.

        Feeling however is something totally different and I don’t mean sensory feeling but input that has a light pressure on our awareness apart from the senses. It is like un thought thoughts that we can decipher if we learn to listen to it. It mostly is blanked out by the strong energy input all senses bear on our awareness but I remember now: you’ve heard these things from your friends and you don’t believe them.
        • thumb
          Dec 17 2011: Frans, my mind is too weak to understand a word of what you write. And I can't get you to explain all this in simple answers, so I guess I'll leave it at that, with regret of not having learnt anything.


          Quote "It is like un thought thoughts that we can decipher if we learn to listen to it. It mostly is blanked out by the strong energy input all senses bear on our awareness"

          Five dollars to whom understands this.
        • thumb
          Dec 26 2011: Wow....this conversation is getting really complicated...:P
    • thumb
      Dec 15 2011: But how can we be sure... I mean there is even a robot made recently that learns from its mistake and then becomes perfect in that activity for e.g. walking, or playing table tennis. Isnt this the start?
      • thumb
        Dec 15 2011: To be sure we first have to understand what self-awareness really is.
        If that is known you know at the same time that to be self-aware you first have to be aware. To be aware is as something that from one point in spacetime pictures the surrounding field in a way that it can derive meaning from it that in turn serves its desire for continuing its awareness. Motivation and will comes first, the desire for life, for the joy and beauty it gives.

        That is the mechanical part that we see on the outside, the real base for all this is consciousness which is the base from which we can picture anything and become aware of it. Consciousness is non material, non local. It is the center and origin of everything in existence and therefore capable of seeing via all kind of senses life has developed. The thing we see is as much in that consciousness as the one that sees. That's the difference between life and death and robots are not alive and not dead, they are thing we play with. You could see robots as an image like an mp3 is a digital image of a song the robot is an image of human activities. Images are copies of the real thing. Maybe they can do things faster but they serve our motivation. Just like a telescope is an extension to our eyes the robot can become an extension to our activities.

        Scientist are on the brink to synthesize a cell as a simple copy of a living cell. Will it start to live? I don't think so. And any robot with a thousand fold of all mental and physical powers of any human being has no clue what it wants unless we program it to do what we like.

        From the illusion we live in we can't make something real.
        • thumb
          Dec 15 2011: You haven't given me an answer on another discussion about this.
          I say that our so-called "desire" to live, our programm telling us what to look for, what to like, what to do, etc... come from our GENES.

          You said, and state the same thing here, that there is more to living organisms than chemical reactions. You think there is something more to life than reproduction of genes. This is what you haven't explained.
          Will to live is an emergeant phenomenum, resulting of genes carelessly being either copied or not. There is no desire at the core of chemistry. Or if you say there is, if for instance you say that an oxygen atom desires two hydrogen atoms, then why can't robots, made of atoms, share this DESIRE?

          An ipod would seem more than mechanical to anyone living in the middle ages. It would bare no ressemblance to the technology of the time, so it would be thought to be obeying different laws of physics... it would be magic.
          I feel like you're puzzled by the complexity of biological machines, and since they bare no ressemblance to your car or TV set, you're jumping to the conclusion that magic is involved, or "soul", or whatever.
          I don't think you're being open-minded about the possibility that there is nothing quite special about life. I don't see any reason for doing so, except for accomodating a pre-existing belief system... which is an unreasonable reason.
        • thumb
          Dec 15 2011: If you want to integrate Philosophy and Science then here is my answer in the same terms:
          I think that nobody can ever know SELF-AWARENESS. What is actually there is not knowable and what we know is just sensory information processed by the MIND. We don’t live in an illusion, we are illusions controlled by what has been put in the memory cells of the brain from millennia. The human brain is not personal it has evolved through time. Whenever self-organization happens consciousness moves in!!
          Robots are becoming more and more organized! The programs that run it may someday become smart enough to evolve the software on its own. It then becomes independent of human intellect. Finally I believe that you can never saw whether you are alive or dead, you could be dead and conscious or alive and unconscious for e.g. how can YOU guarantee that you’re alive when you’re in deep sleep? However once you are awake the space and time around you appear simultaneously. So do you give birth to space and time?
          This feeling can happen in a robot if the capacities of the human brain are reverse engineered and given to it. Robots thus may not need a soul to be alive just an exact replica of a human brain. Man’s brain is a biological computer. Robot’s intelligence is mechanical and evolving at a rapid pace. What if it finds our intelligence primitive? To take-over the world, all it will need is a BRAIN. To be called alive you need to procreate and survive which the computer will do in the future i.e. create its own kind and multiply?
      • thumb
        Dec 15 2011: Siddharth,
        A lot of what you say make sense to me but two comments.

        When will robots start to feel and have our brains have to do anything with living itself?
        As you maybe know most animals haven't hardly brains at all and are functional living beings as well as we are.

        http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/daniel_wolpert_the_real_reason_for_brains.html
        • thumb
          Dec 16 2011: Frans...dont underestimate animals. They might not have the ability to solve differential equations or build rockets but they DO have the brains for one of the most important thing - SURVIVAL. Robots might one they decide that we are useless but might still pose a threat as we can fight back.
          Also, thats true...brains were originally present for movement, etc., but over the past millenia it has evoled and taken over completely. Thus, now the brain tells us what to do and who we are, even though we are much more.