All the novels, comics, magazines, videos and movies that talk about AI and robotics in the future have two approaches; either mankind goes about doing their business with robots being at the bottom of the pyramid or robots take over the world leading man to the brink of extinction.
Autonomous cars, autonomous machinery in various industries, AI and machine learning powered software, connected apps and devices, machine to machine learning and yes in its pure sense ‘robotics’ is what almost everyone thinks the tech sector is moving towards and it is the future of tech. Its not hard to say no! Because, we actually are. I still remember Honda’s Asimo was a sight to see when the company broke the news about “the world’s most advanced robot” in the year 2000.
For a lot of people it was almost as if ‘Skynet’ (from Terminator – the movie) was about to take over! Its been almost 16 years and all we have are cleaning and massaging bots by Milagrow, Boston Dynamics’ (now Google’s) pack mule- Big Dog and Spot, Pepper by SoftBank that apparently sense emotion, the bi-pedal 1.5 foot android Nao, Kuri by Mayfield, LG’s Lynk and a couple of more cute looking ones. But the industry says we are making progress. Robotic stuff in real life will not only stay behind the walls of automobile assembly lines but will soon be walking amongst us.
Not taking any sides or passing any judgments, a lot of people would believe that the people who would indulge in this chain of thought are either optimists or realists. Well I have a different opinion, I think the only way to predict the future is from the angle of a capitalist.
Lets kickback and think about things for a moment and go back to the opening paragraph. Point number one, Man makes machines, either machine take over, or man is ruler. Whatever the outcome, the crux is that man makes machines right! Point number two, we all use machines in one way or the other. Be it mobile phones or washing machines, or cars or microwaves or laptops. How many months/ years does one actually last?
Cars can go vintage but they really can’t be used daily, they become collector’s items. All other electronic machinery, be it mobiles or laptops or washing machines or televisions have a life before they either go bad (not in the taking over humanity way but stop working) or become obsolete since something new becomes the replacement.
Let me try and clear the confusion with a hypothetical example (I am dropping some big names, please don’t take offense); suppose its 2017 and Apple releases an iPhone worth $999.99, it claims that you spend this much on the phone and you never have to spend a dime again. The software will upgrade itself, the body will be replaced with a new one every 8 months, the battery will be replaced with a better one every year and all the other parts too. Now hearing this, you spend the money and probably will never have to purchase any smartphone again right? Or maybe rich kids will purchase 4-5 of them in different colors.
How do you think the company will survive? Our entire market runs on the principle of demand and supply. There needs to be a demand for supply! Now coming back to robots. If suppose in the future, someone is given the task of developing and manufacturing robots (because of course they will not take birth) they will come out from an assembly line, just like the phones. They will not be for free, people will have to buy them. And if the company makes perfect products that will never go bad, what is the next step? A philosophical businessman/ owner would say, “Do good for the society, make some money, buy a small island and relax.” But it’s difficult to find people like that and if there are those kinds, they would definitely not be owning a multi-billion dollar robot manufacturing company (you never know).
Hence, there needs to be a lose circuit or a small hitch in the robot for them to go bad, either to be replaced, repaired or become obsolete. If there will be no demand, there will be no supply. Also, P. Well yes, you can see it today too, a device that you hold in your hand, you use to send request for lives/ gems/ power ups for the various gaming “sagas” is, by my thought, destruction of mankind enough. However, there is still a conglomerate and a businessman sitting at the other end.
To wrap it up, I would like to ask, why would man, make something more intelligent that himself, to be more perfect than himself, and be more efficient than himself? Probably, intelligent enough to “do thy bidding” but not to overthrow the creator. How would man do business in today’s world if there is no inherent flaw in a mechanical/ electronic item? Eventually everything bought in today’s time has to break or undergo “wear and tear.” Maybe it can be a possibility if man lets go off his greed based mentality. But isn’t that a good thing in this case? What about demand and supply?