Google released a video of the latest model of their Atlas Robot. In the video the robot walks across rough terrain and is able to correct it’s balance as it stumbles. This newer more compact version of the robot can also take a knockdown and get back up on it’s own two feet. It’s a remarkable feat of robotic engineering and leaves you wondering where all of this is headed.
There have been many stories written about a dystopian world, in the future, in which robots control the world. In some ways technology is already becoming an essential and disruptive part of our lives. Right now we are going through the era of smartphones and we are compelled to be constantly connected. This could easily evolve to the integration of implants for the benefit of detecting potential harmful diseases and analysis of the vitamins and minerals we lack. Robotics are already being used in surgeries; this could evolve into your own Health Care robot for the home. The need to see your primary care physician might become a thing of the past. Get examined by your robot and then have the results sent off to a doctor. Your doctor could then sign off on prescriptions for your medicine and send an encrypted code to approve of the production of 3D printed medicinal tablets to be made on-demand by your robot. This is the optimistic outlook of the use of robots.
The danger comes when robots are used on the battlefield. We are already using drones in modern warfare. The next logical step would be to deploy robots to foreign lands and fight the enemy as autonomous or remote controlled battle-ready soldiers.
We are at the beginning of a robotic revolution and it will be up to us to make sure that robots follow our commands and don’t become our worst nightmare.
The first steps of this new world man must be taken with caution. Artificial intelligence is improving and once a robot becomes self-aware: we must teach it ethics, the value of life and the command to never harm humans. But will we as humans have the foresight to prevent the rise of the machines? To quote Jeff Goldblum’s famous line in Jurassic Park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Watch the video below to see the eerily self sufficient Atlas robot in action: