It does, you know. You just have to get it hot enough.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

fear of sentient robots

[something short that I’d like to turn into something much longer, given the time to do some research. –jet]

In the past few weeks there have been a number of news articles and at least four kerjillion blog posts regarding robots and the future of humanity. Robots that power themselves with organic matter, robots that can run like an animal, and snake robots that can hump human legs are all pretty cool, but there’s also a related narrative that we, as humans, don’t know how to deal with sentient robots.

The thing is, we’ve had unstoppable, zombie-like, intelligent actors capable of taking out a single human for at least a century. They have legal status, can own property, can file lawsuits, own weapons, have security forces, and they self-replicate based on available resources.

They’re called “corporations”.

A corporation has almost all the rights of an individual human, save for voting. But in most other ways, they’re better than any single human. They can store and process data in vast quantities and faster than a single human. They can make intelligent decisions about how they interact with you based on your purchasing history, your medical history, your entertainment preferences, and your social networking activities. A corporation can not only repair itself, it can survive financial death via various forms of bankruptcy and self-replication. If a corporation gets too big, it can split into a group of more efficiently sized corporations that can coordinate efforts with one another.

I’m not worried about a future where sentient robot dogs that feed on the dead stalk the streets at night.

I’m worried about a now where corporations trick humans into paying as much for a liter of bottled tap water as they do for a liter of milk.

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posted by jet at 19:11  


  1. Good point.

    Joel Bakan did kind of a mental health analysis for this kind of intelligent actors, the result is a film I can only praise.

    Regards, alux

    Comment by alux — 2009/08/04 @ 06:17

  2. I second the motion … good points.

    Just to scare us a bit more, prominent scientists muse that sentient robots is what human beings are going to evolve into in order to survive.

    Comment by Dredd — 2009/10/05 @ 16:46

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