Robots, part II — are they our helpers, overlords or are they us? This week we go in-depth again to talk about the ever-changing world of AI and robots — and cite specific examples of robots becoming a part of everyday lives. As Steven Hawking warns, are robots going to eventually human life? How about Amazon adding 15,000 robots to their workforce? Listen for this lively discussion!
Episode 4 Show Notes
Steven Hawking: Artificial Intelligence Could End Mankind
In an interview with the BBC, the scientist said that while “primitive forms” of artificial intelligence have proved useful, if the technology is developed to a level that can surpass humans, it “could spell the end of the human race.”
He said that advanced artificial intelligence would “take off on its own, and redesign itself at an ever increasing rate.”
ELON MUSK: You Have No Idea How Close We Are To Killer Robots
“…developments in AI could bring about robots that may autonomously decide that it is sensible to start killing humans.
‘The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe,’ Musk wrote.
But minutes after he posted the comment, it was deleted.
During a talk at a recent Vanity Fair conference, Musk warned the audience about killer robots. He suggested that advanced artificial intelligence could cause robots to delete humans like spam:
If its [function] is just something like getting rid of e-mail spam and it determines the best way of getting rid of spam is getting rid of humans …
The interviewer went on to ask Musk whether humanity could use his SpaceX ships to escape killer robots if they took over Earth, but things don’t look promising.
No — more likely than not that if there’s some … apocalypse scenario, it may follow people from Earth.”
An Art Movement Where Art and Science Collide
“Miller joins Ira to talk about “art-sci,” a new avant-garde art movement where art and science are unified. Miller discusses artists who not only take inspiration from science, but also use scientific techniques in their work.”
Report: artificial intelligence will cause “structural collapse” of law firms by 2030
Civilisation 2030: The near future for law firms, by Jomati Consultants, foresees a world in which population growth is actually slowing, with “peak humanity” occurring as early as 2055, and ageing populations bringing a growth in demand for legal work on issues affecting older people.
AI is already close in 2014. “It is no longer unrealistic to consider that workplace robots and their AI processing systems could reach the point of general production by 2030… after long incubation and experimentation, technology can suddenly race ahead at astonishing speed.”
By this time, ‘bots’ could be doing “low-level knowledge economy work” and soon much more. “Eventually each bot would be able to do the work of a dozen low-level associates. They would not get tired. They would not seek advancement. They would not ask for pay rises. Process legal work would rapidly descend in cost.”
A Robot that Folds Laundry & Gets You a Drink
“One of the biggest challenges with programming a robot to work with laundry is that clothing and towels are “deformable objects.’Unlike a bolt or bottle, a shirt’s shape looks different based on whether it’s scrunched up on the floor or hanging in a closet. The challenges posed by robotic towel-folding reflect important challenges inherent in robotic perception and manipulation for deformable objects,’ Assistant Professor Pieter Abbeel tells UC Berkley News Center.”
Amazon Robots — specific numbers
- 15,000 Amazon robots help send gifts on their way — “orange coffee tables on wheels”
- Amazon.com has rolled out 15,000 robots at 10 warehouses across the United States, a move it says will speed shipping times and boost selection, all while cutting operating costs 20 percent.
- Kiva Systems, which Seattle-based Amazon acquired in 2012 for $775 million
- The shelves that hold the products can be stacked tightly next to one another, giving Amazon 50 percent more space to store inventory.
- Even with Kiva, Amazon has more than doubled its head count since the acquisition, with nearly 150,000 employees as of September. Clark insists that robots won’t displace workers. Instead, he said, it will make them more efficient.
- The company expects to introduce the robots to a few international sites next year, and more widely in 2016.