Monday, January 11, 2010

Quake with fear, you tiny fools!

Popular literature and films reflect our deep-seated fear of technology, machines, artificial intelligence, and robots. It appears that most people, rather than looking forward to the future of technology, are afraid of what it means for humans. We have become quite comfortable being at the top of the intellectual food chain and don't look forward to any competition.

There are combinations of androids, robots, avatars, surrogates, drones, replicants, cyborgs, and many other permutations of these future humanoid intelligences. Sarcos (left) has been talking to children about technology at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh since 1997. Referred to as "social robots" they are expected to be a $15 billion industry by 2015.

Zeno (right) is an experiment in human-robot interaction that doubles as a children's toy and a research project. Hanson Robotics tests it innovations like artificial skin and social learning algorithms by providing low-cost hybrid robot toys that are really experiments testing interactions between people and machines.

Rather than fearing technology, we might be better served by directing our fears where they belong - on ourselves. Psychological projection is the unconscious act of denial of a person's own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to something in the outside world.

No comments: