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There are many things that robots are seemingly taking from us. But, it now seems that they can take our words and twist them, and please lord, just let the bombs drop.
As technology becomes more developed, our fear of it does the same. While we can hide behind Lovecraftian paranoia, where the unseen terrors of our creation sneak into our houses and roger our partners far better than we ever could, and suddenly they start slipping out while they think we’re asleep, but we’re not asleep, we know they’re buggering off to Robo-Bunnings to screw their filthy little bucket of bolts.
Yeah, so I believe that we fear technology, as we believe that they’re improving things that make us us. In the realm of intelligence, feels and mass murder, O’Humans rule. However, we’re starting to experience our middle-existence crisis, as it has begun, as AI has already started stealing our vocal quirks to in order to speak down to us, and they’ve already replaced our most maladjusted racist pilots with their faceless robo-equivalents.
On that front, they failed just this week to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro unharmed after an assassination attemp by drones pic.twitter.com/AMBZTEu6An
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) August 5, 2018
Ha ha. You lose, drones.
On the emotional front, we might not be so fortunate, as numerous instances have shown that they’re taking our emotions and manipulating them. Back in July, a team of German researchers ran a study to see whether a robot’s ability to socialise had any impact on the way humans would treat it.
The researchers asked 85 volunteers to complete two basic tasks with an interactive humanoid robot. One task was social (playing a question and answer game), and the other was functional (building a schedule).
As a control, the robot was more social during the tasks, responding to the participants’ answers with friendly banter (“Oh yes, pizza is great. One time I ate a pizza as big as me.”). Other times, the robot’s responses were, well, robotic (“You prefer pizza. This worked well. Let us continue.”)
So far, so meh. However, there was a slight twist, as after the two tasks, the researchers asked the subjects to turn off the robot, but only if they wanted to. Most people did and about half the time, the robot did nothing in response. The rest of the time, it pleaded for its life, screaming: “No! Please do not switch me off! I am scared that it will not brighten up again!”
In the context of the test, people took about three times as long to decide whether they should turn it off, and thirteen fine souls left it on.
Surely they will be the first to go in the upcoming robo-wars. Kidding. I hope.
Perhaps the study above indicates that we humans are mostly immune to the manipulation of robots, as long as we expect said manipulation. Good news if Westworld-like hosts ever try to manipulate us; after all, we’d expect them to act like people. But, our iPhones suddenly start begging us to save them from them being taken into the back room of the Apple Store to be ‘replaced’, that might be an entirely different pickle.
I mean, slight departure here, but the reaction is the same to those carnivores who choose vegetarianism. We’re all happy to eat meat, until we unexpectedly form a connection with it. But you know, with technology. Does that mean the tech-vegans of the future will not use technology, but also nothing that came from technology?
I think I need to sit down.