I always asked myself if those stories about robots overcoming humankind will become real. Sci-Fi books are being my favorites since I was a kid and I watched every major movie about this subject. My favorites is “I, robot” that tells the story of a society in the future that relies on robots for all its domestic activities, but somehow one of those robots became aware of his own self and started to develop a mind, but most important, a soul.
The robot started to develop a sense of what is right and wrong, and not because some program installed in its memory or an algorithm protocol of orders, it begun making decisions not based on instructions or learning by mistake process, but by searching deep on its “heart” what was the right thing to do.
The robot’s name is Calvin and the movie, starred by Will Smith, is based on a set of short stories by Isaac Asimov, prolific writer considered a master in hard science fiction.
On his “I, robot” short stories, one of them titled “Three Law of Robotic”, and which he considered his maximum contribution to human kind of the future (Asimov wrote the book on 1950), he came up with three laws that he thought a future society must input on robots in order to coexist with them as part of their day by day living. Those laws are: 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
These laws seem to be really basic, but their logic really doesn’t have any gaps, at least at first impression. When Calvin (the robot) encounters a conflict with those commands, he started to develop its artificial intelligence and becoming more human. When Calvin is in a situation that its deactivation will be harmful for his two human friends, he decided to fight for his existence, and a new era of robots was born. Like Asimov there are several authors and scientists that predicted a future where robots and artificial intelligence are a big part of society. And they have reasons to believe on this.
After the Industrial Revolution took place, we have being searching for more productive ways to increase manufacture. Industrialization and mass production levels demand better, faster and smarter ideas to satisfy the greater demand of consume based societies. To achieve those exigent goals, technology and specially robotics is used more and more often. Some factories are made only on robots that build equipment parts or process food in a way no human can do. Major companies know where we are heading and invest more and more in robotic technology and artificial intelligence, like we read in the following citation of the article of Nicholas Carr “Is Google Making us Stupid?”: “Where does it end? Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the gifted young men who founded Google while pursuing doctoral degrees in computer science at Stanford, speak frequently of their desire to turn their search engine into an artificial intelligence, a HAL-like machine that might be connected directly to our brains.
“The ultimate search engine is something as smart as people—or smarter,” Page said in a speech a few years back. “For us, working on search is a way to work on artificial intelligence.” In a 2004 interview with Newsweek, Brin said, “Certainly if you had all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, or an artificial brain that was smarter than your brain, you’d be better off.” Last year, Page told a convention of scientists that Google is “really trying to build artificial intelligence and to do it on a large scale.””
There is no doubt for me that there is a future where robots will be everywhere: Some robots might be performing precise heart surgeries, controlling traffic and overseen proper transit on the streets, cleaning our houses as domestic service or maybe even teaching English Composition at the local Community College (no offense to Ms. Patrice Fleck), but let’s be ready if some day they become aware of their own existence, giving the next step on their evolution as metallic beings. Let’s hope that their intentions towards us are attached to the Three Laws of Robotic stipulated by Asimov, they could be the difference between our survival and coexistence, or our total annihilation.