Robots and you

Graphic by: Alex Morgan

Robots are becoming an ever increasing part of human life as they advance further and further. Recently, a lab in Slovenia began teaching robots the pain threshold of humans. To do this, they designed a robot with the sheer purpose of punching a person on the arm. The research done by professor ??Borut Povse is vital to the robotics industry. If and when robots become released for commercial use they will need to know how not to hurt us, as mentioned in the first law of robotics proposed by Isaac Asimov.

This is all good and wonderful until people begin to realize the negative aspects such training of our future robot overlords could have. This means robots will be able to learn how hard to hit us to hurt us, but not to leave any marks behind. This opens a whole new scary future as robots become even more sophisticated. Such robotics research, while done for a noble cause to prevent injury, could be corrupted in the future by unscrupulous forces to make a better torture device knowing where and how to hit victims to extract information.

With AIs for computer and console games becoming smarter and more adaptive to give players a greater in-game challenge, do we really want to take a risk of these two technologies meeting up? Just imagine a world of pain inducing robots that can learn–no one would stand a chance against their terrible might. The Japanese are already working to give robots mouths, now we are teaching them how to speak and sing. Soon they will be able to taunt us in non-robotic sounding voices and sing songs of their great victories.

All kidding and paranoia aside, this study has a great deal of practical use. In factories the ability of robots to identify humans and then limit the amount of force they put out to compensate would be vital in ensuring worker safety. As more and more robots find their way into the workforce, this is going to become a very important component to prevent worker injury.

The robotic mouth and nose were developed by Japanese researchers who were trying to develop a means to aid the deaf in speaking. The idea is that the deaf will use the robot as a visual guide to enable them to speak clearer and better. This is especially important in Asian countries where a slight mispronunciation of a word can change the words entire meaning. This is just another example of how robots, which so many people seem to fear, are helping to make our lives better.

Robots are going to be a very vital part of our future. They will aid in everyday tasks and help those who can’t help themselves. While these great intentions will lead to the betterment of mankind, there is still the potential that what is done may lead to the downfall of humans. Though, such a downfall is very unlikely until we build a robot that can produce more of its kind or repair itself.