There are times when our eyes betray us, and what we believe we are seeing is, in fact, an illusion or some contrivance created to deceive our senses. Other times, we see or experience things we know are real, but our minds are slow to accept because they are so fantastic, such as a creation from robotics experts Boston Dynamics. The company represents the cutting edge of robotic technology and has developed what they describe as “The world’s most dynamic humanoid robot” named Atlas.
Upon observing this miracle of engineering and science, the viewer experiences a flourish of emotions that range from wonderment to shock. Some might have horrifying images of robot armies seizing control of nations or exhilaration at the possible applications of this technology to assist those with disabilities, the elderly, or an array of other worthy purposes. Regardless of how you interpret what you’re about to see, if you haven’t already seen it, you will have witnessed an achievement that is astonishing to the senses. See Atlas in action in the following video and be amazed, terrified, or both.
Many other companies are making immense strides in the field of robotics. Still, when it comes to emulating human speech and emotions, Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotic is unparalleled in its creation. Meet Sophia; Activated on February 14th, 2016, she is the first AI robot to be accepted as a citizen of a country, Saudi Arabia. See the video below of Sophia to watch her interact with Tony Robbins.
The thought of a future populated with robots to aid humans with everyday tasks like mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, caring for an aging family member, or helping the disabled navigate their environments with greater ease is the optimistic take on this phenomenal technology. However, it would be folly to ignore the negative potential of a world where robots and (AI) Artificial Intelligence are as ubiquitous as any other appliance you interact with on a daily basis. The brains of these mechanical beings are self-learning AI, and as such, are subject to the intentions of the humans, corporations, and other players who have a hand in their creation. Watching Atlas dancing better than most humans can be anxiety-provoking. It’s easy for the imagination to invoke legions of Terminators springing into existence to reorder the world with a ruthless logical efficiency or render much of society unemployed.
Contrary to those anxieties, the history of technological advancement is one that’s largely increased the standard of living and broadened economies. Still, there is no guarantee that robots and AI will follow this trend.
Richard Dawkins, a British ethologist, an evolutionary biologist, had these thoughts to offer on AI a few years ago:
Where do you fall in your opinion of this technology? Friend or foe? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.