Futurists and technology leaders have warned that robots with artificial intelligence will take over most human jobs in coming years. Others have warned that once the robots no longer have a need for humans, they may see them as little more than pets or pests, neither sounding particularly pleasant. Boston Dynamics is at the forefront of building intelligent robots with amazing mobility which could make getting away from a robotic pet catcher or exterminator impossible.
“Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) will transform modern life by reshaping transportation, health, science, finance, and the military,” a study conducted by Oxford and Yale said earlier this year. “To adapt public policy, we need to better anticipate these advances.”
Meet Atlas, the 6’9″, 167-pound, humanoid robot that has an amazing vertical leap and some serious gymnastic chops.
If you think Atlas being able to outrun, outjump and otherwise outmaneuver any human is far away, remember that this is where Atlas was less than 4 years ago:
Atlas won’t have to chase down anyone or anything by himself. 6’6″ Handle, with a 4-foot vertical leap and 9mph running speed might partner up in the pursuit.
Also remember that this year Google unleashed fully autonomous vehicles on public roads with no human driver to take over.
And then there’s the concern that robots could be purpose-built for terrorism or other nefarious intent according to a letter written by Tesla chief Elon Musk and 115 other experts.
“Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at time scales faster than humans can comprehend,” they wrote in the letter. “These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.”
Whether or not intelligent robots decide to round-up humanity and turn them into companions or are used to attack population centers is uncertain, but robotics and AI are certainly progressing at an amazing rate.
Survey respondents predict that AI will be able to translate languages better than humans by 2024, write high school–level essays by 2026, drive trucks by 2027, work in retail by 2031, write books by 2049 and perform surgery by 2053. Most recently, an AI developed by Google defeated the world’s best player in Go, a complex strategy game. In 2011, IBM’s Watson AI famously won a game of Jeopardy! against the world’s best players. AIs have been beating world champions in chess since 1997, when IBM’s Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov.
Looks like I could be out of a job in as little as 8 years but may not live long enough to become a pet. I hope my kids like playing fetch.