Future of drones: Robocop or Terminator?

We’ve been warned on how it would end – but no one told us, where it would start. War against once loyal robots, portrayed in “Terminator” movies, might have at its basis a simple desire to create machines that would replace human beings on risky or lethal jobs, like those Atlas androids (by DARPA) clearing nuclear debris after Fukushima disaster [1], [2]. We are all used to remotely guided machines, drones, etc, someone might say – but no, it’s about completely autonomous devices. And if it can march unharmed through radioactive waste – is it not a perfect soldier? Well, for now these guys do not have brains, but several development teams are up to supply one! One of newest robotics companies of Japan has taken an ominous name, “Cyberdyne” – that’s how Terminator-building establishment was called. For now, it researches and manufactures robotic prosthetics and – which is logical – disaster robots to work in mentioned Fukushima district [3]. It was said about initial “Terminator” trilogy that for the first part they’ve imagined a robot, and for the third one they’ve used some existing combat models.

atlasbomb-disposal-robot

Not all of these contraptions are used to kill people – for now primary tasks for remote-controlled, semi-automatic and automatic machines are of supportive kind: to disarm bombs [4], to carry weights [5], to save people. Several stories about drones helping people out of the fire or flood by carrying ropes or lifesaving jackets are already told [6].

And yet, there is a thin line between what is considered allowed and not. It all depends on who makes the decisions on targets of rescue – or killing. While there are humans behind the machines, it is okay. But when we are to give decision-making to the robot, how do we make sure he fires his weapons at correct target? Question, once been risen by Isaac Asimov with his Three Laws or by Robert Sheckley in “Watchbird” – would not robots get out of control and assault humans? – is now getting real, and signed by various people of science, including Steve Vozniak and Stephen Hawking [7]. Never give up power over machines to them, it is strongly advised. Or you might witness scenes from “Animatrix” – I’d say.

Well, armed with this warning, Silença Tech works only on safe neuron networks – we assure you.

  1. Atlas – the real-life Terminator
  2. DARPA
  3. Cyberdyne’s Robots on Fukushima site
  4. Bomb Disposal Robots
  5. Robot Mule tests
  6. Drones save children
  7. Scientists against thinking robots

Leave a Reply