2016/07/28

[Thoughts] Autonomous Robots with Automated targeting and firing

I visited Tel Aviv last month, for a conference and for a day of talks celebrating the 60th birthday of a profesor. During the organized tour of the campus, we visited a robotic lab. The boss of the lab was very proud to announce that some of his robot where already patrolling the Israelian border. Those are "only" autonomous video cameras, with humans checking the screen, but it would be very easy to mount a gun and an automatic targeting system on it. This gives another dimension to the following quote from my personal collection:

> Drones will cause an upheaval of society like we haven’t seen in 700 years
> "With robot armies, the few will be able to do whatever they want to the many"
> http://qz.com/185945/drones-are-about-to-upheave-society-in-a-way-we-havent-seen-in-700-years/

This kind of ideas are in complete contradiction with the sequence of articles inundating my news feed about the imminence of universal minimum salary brought by the robotisation of the society. I doubt that robotization will make water (the next scarse recourse) easier to obtain (alternate sources of energies for desalinization maybe, but not exactly robotics), nor will it be flexible enough to deal with the disastrous brought by climate change. On the other hand, a minority of very riche people might bet on the ability of robotization to allow a small society to build their own independent island of comfort in a world of complete chaos.

I had those paranoid ideas for years. They seem less and less paranoid each year which passes. Other than taking anti-depressants every day or to bury my head in the sand, I don't know what to do. The real solution is to educate the people, and I am already working on this aspect, but it is a long term solution, when the problem seems to be in the short term?

My fear is under control but is still fear.
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