Will Robots Replace Us All?

There's been a lot in the news lately concerning advances in both AI and robot technology.
TOPIO - TOSY "Ping Pong Playing Robot" @Tokyo International Robot Exhibition 2009
- Image via 
Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0)

Not for the first time, I bet there are many people out there wondering what this means for the future of the human species. Are we manufacturing our own replacements? Our own obsolescence, and if so, what happens then? OR are we in the process of building a post-scarcity society, where robots provide us with everything we need, either cheaply or for free?

To be honest, I don't think much about the transition period that we are entering now in the real world. I tend to project my thoughts more to the post-Singularity society of my books. At least that's how I roll most of the time, but then something like this video of a robot dog created by Google's Boston Dynamics Group pops up and really gets my brain going:

I actually had the thought, "If they can replace our dogs, what can't they replace?"
And then I realized how silly I was being. I doubt anyone who loves animals would want to give up the warm, fuzzy feeling of hugging one for something hard and metal, even if it can and will carry the groceries home for you. Yes, our robot dogs will prove useful on the battlefield, and in search and rescue situations where sending in a real biological would be inadvisable, but in our homes I have to wonder if they will truly replace our current biological companions. There is already some research to suggest this is possible, but only time will tell if it comes to pass.

Maybe, if we wind up destroying ourselves, our artificial offspring will be all that's left to remember us by. Perhaps TOPIO, features above, will be what an "Earthling" will look like a thousand years from now. I hope not, but I have to admit that this, too, is possible (but hopefully a longg way off).

In the meantime, for those worried about what the nearer future will bring, check out Business Insider's list of jobs that robots are least likely to take over. Here's a hint of what you'll see there: the safer jobs tend to be those that would make people very uncomfortable if a machine were doing them, like judges and politicians. Still, with the advent of AI well on its way, one has to wonder...

Are we all replaceable?


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