Masbad: I am excited for robots in the future

Roark L. Masbad

AGAIN, about robots. (What’s with this somewhat “obsession” on AI on my part anyway?) Anyway, do you remember that Will Smith movie back in 2004? I, Robot? Yep. That one. That was quite a fascinating one for me considering that it’s not really far off that the prevalence of intelligent robots among us isn’t a far-fetched imaginary thing. AI is getting better each year. Google has even improved in its machine learning research that they were able to create professional looking images based on Google Street View images. The images were so good that pro photographers gave it high scores. Google posted it on their research blog. Check it out.

Anyway, back to what I was saying.

I have high hopes really of seeing a future where robots, intelligent robots, are everywhere and are either working together with humans or working for humans or what not. The applications are endless. High risk work environments need not be filled with humans anymore and humans can work more from afar and be quite safe and still go home to their families. Warfare can be changed as well. The fear of losing someone in the battlefield can become a thing of the past. Same goes with police work in our cities. Detective work can probably still be done by us, humans, but the beat cop work can be assigned to robots. Robocop, anyone?

The possibilities are right there. We all just have to harness it and build safeguards into these robots so it doesn’t run amuck. And I think that’s where the real challenge is. How can one “program” empathy, sympathy or any other human trait that are intrinsic with us humans. Can it even be programmed? I don’t know really. Perhaps it can. Perhaps it can’t be. And I think that’s where all the excitement (or dread) is -- coming up with a robot (or android) that can think and feel like a human but is not human. David (of Prometheus) comes to mind. If not David, Skynet maybe? But that’s just me. I’m sure our brilliant scientists and researchers can come to a solution.

One thing’s for sure though, even if we do create such highly intelligent AI in robots and make them human-like, there’s no replacing the humanity in us all. After all, it’s what makes us unique and, well, human. No two beings are alike. Even identical twins are not alike. We all have our personalities, our beliefs, our value systems, our emotions. These things can’t surely just be programmed because these things, I believe, are what we grow into and form ourselves as we walk through life. We all learned from our daily life experiences and it’s not sure if robots would be able to do so as we did. That remains to be seen.

However things turn out to be, it’s still quite exciting to follow the small triumphs and failures of research and development of AI and robotics. Even the small steps forward in the realm of automated driving carries with it such an excitement.

I am still looking forward to the day that robots are around us. I think it’s going to be great. Even if we won’t have flying cars just like in The Jetsons but having robots is a great future to look forward to.