The robot invasion has already begun

Posted by Ms. Gadget
Ms. Gadget
Megan Ellis is a New Media student and young journalist at Rhodes University.
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 27 May 2012
in Digital Blogs

Now we know that we are nowhere near crafting artificial intelligence like C3P0 and R2D2 to help us save the galaxy from the Empire, but I know that scientists have created some mechanical marvels already. 

Robots are no longer confined to the realm of many-a-geeks' fantasies, but rather they are fast becoming essential tools in the world of technological development. 

And these robots are not just construction line machines - many of the most-advanced robots can understand verbal commands, can hold up part of a conversation or can perform physical feats which we as organic beings take for granted. 


Enter Asimo

Asimo is the most impressive creation I have seen - this little guy is SkyNet in a cute robotic form. Somewhat resembling a child in an astronaut suit, Asimo is the most advanced humanoid robot in existence. 

Asimo was created by Honda in 2000, and over the last 12 years has undergone major advancements. 

According to howstuffworks.com, Asimo can carry simple conversations, recognise people and objects, calculate a route through recognising obstacles and judge force - allowing it to carry trays and other objects. Asimo can even recharge itself without the help of others. 

However the feature which astounds people the most is the robot's ability to run and stop without turning - feats which are incredibly difficult to replicate in mechanical constructs. 

Honda continually updates Asimos (yes, there are several) in order to keep advancing the technology. However, while they seem to be replicating human movement relatively well, the complexity of the human brain is a much greater challenge.

Doomsday

Of course, another response Asimo receives is the prediction that he will someday be our robotic overlord. But is this a dystopian view of the future or a chillingly real prediction?

Despite the notable warnings for Terminator and The Matrix, scientists are still working towards creating artificial intelligence. 

My own personal reservations regarding this kind of technology is that we might become too reliant - and in the event of a worldwide fuel and electricity crisis, this could be devastating if we've lost our autonomy. After all, alternative energy efforts continue to be stifled by the fossil fuel industry. 

Advocates

Of course there is also the other side of the coin: some want robots to become a regular feature in our daily lives - as well as promoting the idea of robotic integration into humans. Steps towards this have already been taken, especially in terms of medical technology. 

But some go further - aiming for life extension and improvement of the human race. Transhumanism is a theory I stumbled upon when researching a project in Matric. 

Basically, it refers to a body of ideas which aim to transform, improve and possibly cure the human condition. This would be done through improving human intellect and physique through technology as well as slowing down or stopping the aging process. 

However, I'm not sure I would want this to be truly realised in the future. The world is already overpopulated, with humans being a very damaging species for the planet - do we really want to extend our lives indefinitely? 

Also, these kinds of advanced enhancements would only be available to an elite class with the finances to buy this. This would lead to even further domination from the upper class over the global community. 

What is your opinion? Is Asimo going to enslave the human race or are we simply going to become one with machines?

Comments

izzyabraham
izzyabraham
A 4th-year Journalism & Media Studies student, specializing in New Media. I'm fr
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izzyabraham Monday, 28 May 2012

Asimo :-)

Watch Asimo having a little run dance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsIz8xn3srI

Ms. Gadget
Ms. Gadget
Megan Ellis is a New Media student and young journalist at Rhodes University.
User is currently offline
Ms. Gadget Tuesday, 29 May 2012

QI

I saw him on QI. It's adorable...and terrifying

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