Autonomous deadly robots

Robots have fascinated humanity since its inception. They were born with initially magical/religious purposes to later move on to entertainment or basic mechanics and eventually to promote industrial revolutions. Today it is purchased by large hospitals to perform sensitive operations. They have always been subject to the will of their creators, until Artificial Intelligence began to give them dangerous degrees of autonomy.

In Pharaonic Egypt there were temples with statues of “speaking” by radiating hissing air, heated by priests, through slits in secret entrance chambers to entice the scepter. Homer also talks about automata that imitates the living creatures of the god Hephaestus.

In Alexandria, robotics achieved great mastery in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, thanks to inventors such as Ctesibius, Heron, and Philo. You can only imagine the venerable astonishment that the believers would accompany the genius, with the first designed mechanisms to open the temple’s heavy doors with hot air by lighting a fire in its main altar. Heron built a theater with vending machines, and Philo built a life-size maid holding a pitcher of wine in her right hand and pouring it into a goblet in her left. All this works with a system of tubes that open and close with the relative weight of the containers to which they are attached as they are filled or emptied. At Syracuse, Archimedes worked on a screw that constantly draws water from mines, pulleys to lift heavy weights, or torsion catapults that shoot arrows and stones far away. He also made a particularly gloomy hourglass, in which an executioner marked the hours by beheading the prisoners.

With the Enlightenment, the fashion for vending machines was all the rage in France with dolls.

Built by Jacques de Vauncansos and Henri Maillardert, Joseph Jacquard’s invention, although more important, built a programmable machine with punch cards that could smoke, play music or draw, shortly after Louis XVI was beheaded, thus paving the way for the textile revolution. He was caught especially vigorously in England, where the Luddites attacked these demonic beasts with hammers, threatening to put them out of work. Lord Byron defended them, but many paid the price with the gallows. Robotization has since fueled this fear of unemployment, although it almost always creates more jobs than it originally destroyed, even elsewhere and with different training requirements, such as the arrival of tractors in the North American countryside. 1903 shows that today there is less rural population than then, and total unemployment stands at an enviable 3.8%.

Isaac Asimov gives three laws to regulate its operation in “I, Robot”: do no harm to people, obey people (unless it contradicts the first law), and protect yourself without violating the first two laws. What happens is that with AI and learning algorithms, robots can start “thinking” for themselves and already beat humans at games like go or chess. China has launched a 2,000-ton autonomous ship carrying drones and mini-submarines without a single crew member on board. All managed remotely. It’s okay if humans don’t lose control, but what if one day they lose control and the machines start making decisions for themselves? Note that in fiction, Hal, a computer from 2001, rebelled against its programmers, and now the issue of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), which, according to the UN, has already been used in wars. in Libya and Ukraine, where there are drones that can navigate alone, recognize targets (radar, tanks, soldiers…) and destroy them without human intervention. According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, these weapons “should be prohibited by international law for politically unacceptable, morally repugnant and ethical reasons and because they are conducive to multiplying indiscriminate violence”. The apocalyptic catastrophe of robots escaping human control thus gains credibility, and even more credibility when a conference convened by the UN itself last year in Geneva with the intent to ban, or at least regulate, the use of LAWS failed. It seems that the issue did not concern the most important countries.

Source: Informacion


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