Limitations On Robotic Technology Essay, Research Paper
Should the progression of robotic technology be limited? Are movies like Terminator foretelling what will happen as the twenty-first century expands its boundaries with robotics? Are robots becoming too smart? Should humans trust robots to learn and act on their own? Can and will robots turn on their masters? In the movie Terminator a robot from the future comes back to forewarn the people that if they do not change the direction that technology is going then the world would be over taken by robots. This android, the Terminator, told the people stories of how robots would become smarter than their masters and overtake them. In an opportunity to rid the world of humans the robots try to exterminate humans from the face of the Earth. The humans have little to no chance of survival because they built the robots to be perfect and very intelligent. Where is the limit on society’s safety? In the last two decades of the twentieth century, progress has gone beyond the wildest imagination of almost every inventor or dreamer. Faster and better are the keys for words that society yearns for. The technological age is in full force and robots are in the main stream of this tidal wave.
In the movie, Terminator, robots take over the world in their future. Are movies like these foretelling the future of mankind? Some Swiss scientists say that the end may be close (Kelly 1). An autonomous robot that learns from its environment sparked all of this “Armageddon” talk (Kelly 1). The robot learned not to bump into a barrier without any programming of that sort. This may not seem like a big deal, but this is a major breakthrough in this area. Scientist believe that in ten years the technology will be more advanced and the robots will be as clever as humans are (Kelly 1). Soon as man-made creations can become more intelligent then their creators and be unpredictable as humans too. “Next century’s global politics will be dominated by the question of, should humanity build ultra-intelligent machines or not,” said Hugo De Garis (Kelly 2). De Garis went so far to say that major warfare will break out between the sides with one saying that building machines is the destiny of mankind and the other saying that it too dangerous (Kelly 2). Kevin Warwick, professor cybernetics, says that there is no reason why artificial life would not be more intelligent than humans are, and that is a dangerous threat to mankind as a whole (Kelly 2). People will never be sure that these robots would not decide that the human race is a pest and exterminate it, and humans would have given them the intelligence to do it. De Garis sees that soon robots will tire of their human creators and make their own decisions like it or not for the creators (Kelly 2). “The day when robots do not do what we want then to do may already be here,” says De Garis (Kelly 2).
With limitations some robots can be very beneficial and helpful. These robots help humans perform the acts that humans cannot perform safely. The synthetic nature of robots is an advantage because they are immune to dangerous and unstable environments. Some robots mimic or respond to human interaction whether through remote or body suit (Uttal 125). Teleoperators, where a robot is controlled at a distance by a human, are essential when doing dangerous work such as clean up of radioactive spills like at Chernobyl (Osborn 1). Scientists have created a robot to enter the contaminated shelters and map out terrain, temperature and radiation (Osborn 2). Only a robot can do these necessary but lethal actions so that humans can design a solution to radiation leaks. This robot can be a lifesaver in situations where humans can not handle the severity of the situation. Pioneer, a robot, was designed to enter contaminated shelters at the nuclear meltdown site in Chernobyl (Osborn 1). This robot is programmed to go in and survey and monitor different types of the landscapes. The high level of radiation keeps humans at a distance, but they can control the robot via two-way communication. Pioneer is a robot that is controlled by humans and does not have any software to allow it to make decisions on its own. With today’s technology, robots can be programmed with software to do anything that is needed. There are robots that map out mine fields by using detectors to seek out unknown mines. Military personnel can use these robots to keep soldiers out of dangerous terrain until the areas have been safely cleared of all explosives. If a human were to go into an unstable environment looking for mines and accidentally triggered one then the military would have to send the soldier and a letter of regret back to the family with an American flag draped across the coffin. With a robot there will only be parts shipped back to the manufacturer. Another robot can very easily be made and put to use just as quickly as the other was shipped back. This type of robot is a very good example of a robot that is with-in limitations. This robot does good by the way that it lets humans get out of harms way and still allows humans to control the situation.
The availability of robots surpasses that of humans because robots have no need for sleep, food, or personal needs. The elderly and ill spend thousands of dollars on twenty-four nursing care each year. A robotic room is now on the market for these people who need constant care or for quarantine purposes. A robotic room can fulfill all human needs and wants of those who cannot care for themselves. A robotic room is totally autonomous so only one human is needed, the patient. Consistency of robots makes them more dependable and economical than humans. Robots can be programmed to meet any need for anyone. The robots can be at work for an unlimited amount of time so they can get more work done in an allotted amount of time. Laboratories in Durham, North Carolina are using robots to test sample cures for diseases (Moukheiber 76). The robots work 24 hours a day and seven days a week so that they can get faster results than the old guess and check method. Sometimes society needs to settle for a slower and more human worker to keep society intact and working smoothly. Even though robots work faster and more efficient humans need to be able to keep the jobs so that families will be able to have jobs and money to live on. In factories around the world robots are taking jobs away from the hard working humans that have to work to support a family and themselves. This type of robot is not autonomous but it can cause just as much damage to society as autonomous robots can.
Lifelike robots are now being made that is capable of having sex with humans (Snell 29). Sex with robots will dramatically cut down on the spread of “STDs” and teen pregnancy rates because robots are immune to these problems. Along with the cut down on teen pregnancy will come a cut in total pregnancy. These “Sexbots” will also slow the rate of prostitution because of the availability of these robots. These robots can also be programmed to learn to individualize their actions to accommodate each individual human (Snell 29). Robots can be programmed to do almost anything. These robots will cause spouses not to worry about pleasuring their mate because they have robots to do it for them and that will never makes mistakes. Marriages will be broken up because spouses will prefer sex with the robot to sex with their mate. People will quit their jobs and rearrange their lives to accommodate their addictions (Snell 29). These addictions will occur because the robot will never say “NO” and will always be available (Snell 29). Soon after support groups will be created for these people to help them with their addiction. Instead of people going to marriage counselors these people will be going to counselors that will help these people with their addictions to the robots. A good solution for this problem is to have these robots set to say no and to only work at certain times and not be able to make any decisions. The owner can set the robot to do what he/she wants, but have a way to regulate the usage of these robots. This will cause spouses to turn to their husband or wife more than always turning to the robot. Other limitations need to be set on the unrealistic traits of the robot with how it only does what the owner likes. So with limitations these Sexbots can be used as recreation more than a way of life for their owners.
“Universities around Europe and the US got together to compete in the first ‘Robo Cup’” (Normile 1933). Students use robots to play soccer against other students. Sooner or later this competition will evolve into robot versus humans (Normile 1933). Robots can supply humans with a better challenge because they only do what they are programmed to do with no mistakes or personal problems weighing them down. These robot soccer players can compute situations faster and make decisions faster than humans. If scientist can build robots that act on their own then what is to say that the robots will not be used for other purposes. If these robots are built to provide a challenge and are better than humans then limits need to be set to keep these robots from becoming too good and too smart. An example of the type of limit that needs to be implemented is to have humans that control the robots at a distance, not to have the robots completely on their own. This still gives the humans a challenge but without having the risk of an unpredictable robot.
In conclusion, robots do many incredible things that humans cannot do that are very helpful to keep humans safe. Yet if humans let robots become too intelligent, powerful, and independent, who knows what the robots will do. If limitations on robotic technology are regulated then humans can stay in control of their own creations. If no limitations are regulated then robots could gain enough intelligence and power to overtake their creators. The day of decision is here; technology is at the point for humans to make a decision now. Humans must find a balance between human existence and technology. Humans need robots to do the things that they cannot do, but robots do not need to do it on their own. A good combination is for robots to go where humans cannot, but humans control the robot. If humans want to rule the Earth for another four billion years they need to set limitations on the technology of technology of robots. Today’s society is becoming more and more lazy; these robots only promote the laziness. Let humans stay in the factories and do work even if they are slower and not as efficient. The stability of the people who buy the product, which is the people who are getting laid off due to robotic technology, is a must for any product to sell for a profit. So for humans and technology to live in peace with each other limitations need to be set and regulated. The world needs to be in complete understanding with each other about this matter. If not then the human race will suffer many problems and difficulties in the near future. To solve all of these problems a limit needs to be set on how far robotic technology can reach.
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Osborn, Jim. “Program Description.” Pioneer: Robots for Chernobyl Stabilization.
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