According toMoravec, our robot creations are evolving similar to how
life on Earth evolved, only at warp speed. By his calculations, by
mid-century no human task, physical or intellectual, will be beyond the
scope of robots.
Here is a summary of his educated predictions for the future of robotics up until they can do everything we can do:
2010: A first generation of broadly-capable "universal robots" will
emerge. The “servant” robots, will be able to run application programs
for many simple chores. These machines will have mental power and
inflexible behavior analogous to small reptiles.
2015: Utility robots host programs for several tasks. Larger
"Utility Robots" with manipulator arms able to run several different
programs to perform different tasks may follow single-purpose home
robots. Their tens of billion calculation per second computers would
support narrow inflexible competences, perhaps comparable to the skills
of an amphibian, like a frog.
2020: Universal robots host programs for most simple chores. Larger
machines with manipulator arms and the ability to perform several
different tasks may follow, culminating eventually in human-scale
"universal" robots that can run application programs for most simple
chores. Their tens of billion calculation per second lizard-scale minds
would execute application programs with reptilian inflexibility.
2030: Robot competence will become comparable to larger mammals. In
the decades following the first universal robots, a second generation
with mammallike brainpower and cognitive ability will emerge. They will
have a conditioned learning mechanism, and steer among alternative
paths in their application programs on the basis of past experience,
gradually adapting to their special circumstances. A third generation
will think like small primates and maintain physical, cultural and
psychological models of their world to mentally rehearse and optimize
tasks before physically performing them. A fourth, humanlike,
generation will abstract and reason from the world model.
If Moravec is correct in his predictions, if won’t be long before
robots have cognition. With daily breakthroughs happening in the
robotic community—it may happen even sooner. Not only will they be able
to think autonomously, but robot intelligence and capabilities would
equal (and most likely quickly surpass) any human capability.
That likely possibility begs the question, what happens when robots
are superior to their creators? Will they still be subservient to us,
or will the popular “robot takeover” of sci-fi movies become reality? I
love robots as much as the next geek, but maybe we need some sort of
plan for when they stop loving us…
On the other hand, others believe that it is humans who will evolve
into advanced “robots”. Their belief is that with futuristc
technologies being developed in multiple fields, human intelligence may
eventually be able to “escape its ensnarement in biological tissue” and
be able to move freely across boundaries that can’t support flesh and
blood—while still retaining our identities. That idea seems much
further away, but whatever the case may be—there are changes ahead.
Posted by Rebecca Sato.
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