Scary! Robots Will Control Us All!

Perhaps the scariest article you’ll read all year (robots will soon control us all)

Robots, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, AI, Rise of the Machines, Rise of the Robots:-

If this is the fu­ture of war­fare and in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing, rest as­sured it won’t only be Wash­ing­ton doing it.

Last month philoso­pher Patrick Lin de­liv­ered this brief­ing about the ethics of drones at an event hosted by In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s ven­ture-cap­i­tal arm (via the At­lantic):

Let’s look at some cur­rent and fu­ture sce­nar­ios. These go be­yond ob­vi­ous in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance, and re­con­nais­sance (ISR), strike, and sen­try ap­pli­ca­tions, as most ro­bots are being used for today. I’ll limit these sce­nar­ios to a time hori­zon of about 10-15 years from now.

Mil­i­tary sur­veil­lance ap­pli­ca­tions are well known, but there are also im­por­tant civil­ian ap­pli­ca­tions, such as ro­bots that pa­trol play­grounds for pe­dophiles (for in­stance, in South Korea) and major sport­ing events for sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity (such as the 2006 World Cup in Seoul and 2008 Bei­jing Olympics). Cur­rent and fu­ture bio­met­ric ca­pa­bil­i­ties may en­able ro­bots to de­tect faces, drugs, and weapons at a dis­tance and un­der­neath cloth­ing. In the fu­ture, robot swarms and “smart dust” (some­times called nanosen­sors) may be used in this role.

Ro­bots can be used for alert­ing pur­poses, such as a hu­manoid po­lice robot in China that gives out in­for­ma­tion, and a Russ­ian po­lice robot that re­cites laws and is­sues warn­ings. So there’s po­ten­tial for ed­u­ca­tional or com­mu­ni­ca­tion roles and on-the-spot com­mu­nity re­port­ing, as re­lated to in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing.

In de­liv­ery ap­pli­ca­tions, SWAT po­lice teams al­ready use ro­bots to in­ter­act with hostage-tak­ers and in other dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions. So ro­bots could be used to de­liver other items or plant sur­veil­lance de­vices in in­ac­ces­si­ble places. Like­wise, they can be used for ex­trac­tions too. As men­tioned ear­lier, the BEAR robot can re­trieve wounded sol­diers from the bat­tle­field, as well as han­dle haz­ardous or heavy ma­te­ri­als. In the fu­ture, an au­tonomous car or he­li­copter might be de­ployed to ex­tract or trans­port sus­pects and as­sets, to limit US per­son­nel in­side hos­tile or for­eign bor­ders.

In de­ten­tion ap­pli­ca­tions, ro­bots could also be used to not just guard build­ings but also peo­ple. Some ad­van­tages here would be the elim­i­na­tion of prison abuses like we saw at Guan­tanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. This speaks to the dis­pas­sion­ate way ro­bots can op­er­ate. Re­lat­edly–and I’m not ad­vo­cat­ing any of these sce­nar­ios, just spec­u­lat­ing on pos­si­ble uses–ro­bots can solve the dilemma of using physi­cians in in­ter­ro­ga­tions and tor­ture. These ac­tiv­i­ties con­flict with their duty to care and the Hip­po­cratic oath to do no harm. Ro­bots can mon­i­tor vital signs of in­ter­ro­gated sus­pects, as well as a human doc­tor can. They could also ad­min­is­ter in­jec­tions and even in­flict pain in a more con­trolled way, free from mal­ice and prej­u­dices that might take things too far (or much fur­ther than al­ready).

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