Media Hysteria Over a ‘Robot Armageddon’

Robot and human playing chess - Is this a more likely future?

With the release of this years Boston Dynamics Christmas card (a company now owned by Google), there has been further scaremongering about how humans will eventually loose control of the very things we are building to help us. [See the Boston Dynamics Christmas video below]

A world where we live side-by-side with robots, in a way frequently described by the author Isaac Asimov, seems very far away. We may have made big technological strides with robots such as Honda’s Asimo and the military robots being developed by Boston Dynamics. However, artificial intelligence, the key component of smart social robots, has made little progress since the 1970s.

The advent of low-cost increasingly powerful computes has helped make huge improvements in understanding sensor data, and mining this information to help robots perceive their environment better. However, the real world is massively complex, so we have barely scratched the surface in making a robot that can understand the world in the way we do. If an Asimovian future of robots walking down the streets with us was not such a distant possibility, it may be worth having a conversation about robots taking control. But It is more likely we will have colonised planets before this becomes a serious possibility.