Do AI Robots Like ‘Sophia’ Signal A Massive Threat To Humans?

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Technology is like a shapeshifter. It is constantly evolving and changing in new forms. One day it could be a new i-phone and the next day it could be a new i-mac. However, there is a difference when the latest technology is not only a new i-phone or an i-mac, but also a new robot. On April 19, 2015, Sophia became the latest humanoid robot that was designed by Hanson Robotics.

According to David Hanson, who developed Sophia; the robot is capable of imitating human gestures and recognizing facial expressions. But, that is not all. Sophia is also the first robot, who has citizenship.

And, Saudi Arabia is the first country to accept a robot as her citizen. Unfortunately, awarding this citizenship was not as pleasant as it was for Sophia, because some women complained that Sophia actually has more rights than millions of women in Saudi Arabia.

Also, there are other critics, who are claiming that this simple act of granting citizenship to a robot can underestimate the importance of having citizenship.

So, Could Artificial Intelligence Robots Jeopardize The Future of Humans?

Is AI The Threat For All Of Humanity?

A research team including Francesco Ferrari, Maria Paola Paladino, and Jolanda Jetter conducted two different research studies to understand the consequences of engaging robots in society.

They considered that the similarity between humans and robots is really concerning and it could have a negative impact on all of us.

Being similar to an AI robot can really threaten our identity and our chance to be a unique and exceptional human being. So, in order to confirm this hypothesis, the researchers shared photos of robots with the participants.

These photos included three types of robots. They are:

  1. mechanical robots who had no human resemblance
  2. biped humanoids that had a body shape similarity
  3. and androids, which are the perfect twin of a human being.

The results of the first study determined that the human look of the robot helped in predicting the danger that could happen, by living in a robotic future.

And, in the second study, the research team concluded that androids were the hardest in the human-robot distinction.

They were also recognized as the future nightmare of all human beings. These studies were published in the International Journal of Social Robotics.

At the end, the researchers believed that this theory “contributes to a better understanding of why people fear the impact of social robots’’. And, it helps them to finally identify the most frightening robots.

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The Future Of Artificial Intelligence

However, besides identifying human’s most frightening robots, we also need to face some of the changes that AI is cooking for us.

So, the question is: Are we ready for these changes? Read on to learn what could be the future of artificial intelligence and how can it impact our jobs.

1. The Future of Self-Driving Cars

Waymo‘ is our hope for living in a self-driving future. It began in 2009, as a self-driving project of Google. Now it is an autonomous car company that uses self-driving technology to design vehicles that are able to drive on their own.

On 7 November 2017, the company officially began to test self-driving cars. They tested autonomous minivans on the public road in Arizona. And, later these minivans passed more than 3.5 million miles across the US.

Also, the company has taken more than 20,000 individual test drives.

So, even though Waymo is still in a testing mode, they announced that their first self-driving vehicle will be released in 2020. “Fully self-driving cars are here’’, confirmed John Krafcik the CEO of Waymo.

And, I believe that this first autonomous vehicle will not only signify the new era for the automotive industry, but it will also signify a new era for saving millions of lives.

2. The Future of Cyber-Humans

“I really think in the future we are all going to be cyborgs. I think the human and the computer are really, really quickly becoming one tightly-coupled cognitive unit’’; claims Shimon Whiteson, an associate professor at the University of Amsterdam.

He adds that humans will be more productive if they have the possibility of expanding their brains with a perfect memory or upgrading it with an accurate calculator.

But, Thomas Dietterich, the President of the Association for Advancement of AI, hopes that we will be more than just productive.

For example, I hope that exoskeletons will allow me to walk when I am old and feeble. I hope that I can retain my sense of hearing and sight even as my eyes and ears fail”, he said.

According to him, the combination of human and artificial intelligence is fascinating, because it has the potential of making us superhumans.

So, I believe that AI would be a great assistant in helping us to do what we want to do or what we want to be.

3.The Future of Artificial Intelligence At Workplace

In the year 2013, researchers at Oxford University published a study of jobs that are possible to become automated jobs.

Jobs like Library Technicians, Mathematical Technicians, Tax Preparers, Watch Repairers and other professions that share a mutual pattern of repeated and similar activities.

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Jobs That Are Less Likely To Be Taken Over By AI

On the other hand, the study also revealed the jobs that are less likely to become AI jobs. They are:

  • Recreational Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Audiologists
  • Healthcare Social Workers
  • and other careers that involve human interaction.

In the end, the researchers concluded:

“Our findings thus imply that as technology races ahead, low-skill workers will reallocate to tasks that are non-susceptible to computerization i.e. tasks requiring creative and social intelligence’’.

So, this job robbery from AI will actually push us in finding a more creative and productive job.

Read more: Robots May Not Take Your Job – But They Might Make It Boring

4.The Future of AI In Health Care

While people are growing older, the need of AI is growing bigger. Taking care of these needs is actually taking care of senior needs.

And, according to Antonio Espingardeiro, an expert in robotics, AI has the potential to meet these needs.

To prove this, Espingardeiro has developed a model of elder-care robot. This robot is capable of providing basic care while communicating with doctors. He can supervise the elderly and make sure they take their medicine on time.

“We can have more home robots that can help people with these activities of daily living. Making sure people take their medicine, helping them prepare their food, and making sure that if they don’t get out of bed someone is notified’’ predicts Matthew Taylor; a computer scientist at Washington University.

So, it is true. AI has the potential. It is the potential to be a caring and thoughtful doctor.

Read more: How Are Robots Changing Health Care?

5. Can AI Change Our World?

Creating machines that could make the world a better place to live is a real challenge.

But, “There are very few people in the world that actually understand how to get machines to learn and think. Deep learning is still new’’ indicates Quoc Le, a software engineer at Google Brain.

Deep learning is the science for machine learning. It is also called Deep Neural Network because it uses neural networks to process images, text. and feelings.

And, according to Le, as long as the deep learning develops in AI, people will feel more prepared to use it on global matters like climate change or poverty.

“I’m confident deep learning isn’t going to plateau anytime soon and that it’ll continue to grow rapidly’’ claims Andrew Ng, the co-founder of Google Brain.

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He clarifies that the idea of this deep learning is to create machines that will be able to make their own decisions.

And, I am sure that when the AI starts to think independently, then our planet will also start to recover from her own diseases and catastrophes.

6. Can AI Become Our Friend?

‘Pepper’ is the first humanoid robot that is capable of becoming our friend. He was designed in Japan and he was programmed to develop his own emotions. By having his own emotions, the robot is also capable of recognizing others’ emotions which helps him to adapt and behave properly.

Also, Pepper is created to communicate in the most natural way, by using his body movements and voice. That for sure makes him more than just a robot. It makes him a kind and interesting companion.

According to Softbank Robotics Corp, the Japanese company, this lovely companion went on a sale in 2015 and sold within a minute.

They believe that Pepper with his emotional awareness and collective wisdom will evolve and become a great friend.

And, I think that becoming friends with a robot can be an exceptional and amazing experience.

Read here: How Can Game Theory Bring Humans and Robots Closer?

Concluding Thoughts,

Each and every hottest tech toy on the market is having a little piece of AI. It can be the latest model of digital camera or the latest model of i-pod.

However, there is a difference in having an interesting tech device and living closely with an intelligent machine.

Living with an intelligent machine, for some people, is like living in fear. It is the fear that they will replace us, by constantly improving and replicating themselves.

On the other hand, living with an intelligent machine, for few, is like living in excitement. It is the excitement of investing in their development and the excitement of observing their evolution.

However, it is still early to determine whether robots will be our friends or foes. So, I just hope that we will do anything we can; to create a friendly and caring AI.

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Ljupka is a freelance writer at AlignThoughts focused on Science and Technology.