Who is a bigger threat: Humans or AI?
Protect Who from Who: AI from Humans or Humans from AI?
How many times in the past we have prayed for a robot to take our jobs so we can travel, snooze or waste our time in other creative ways? All we needed was it to give us its earnings, preferably in millions of dollars. Robots are real now… Hurray! But there is a dark lining to this silver cloud. Those who work, take time off. And as it applies in the human world, in the robot world, in the eyes of law, all robots will be equal too. Imagine your TV walking up to you and asking for a leave, your refrigerator asking for a Sunday break and your car refusing to drive anywhere after 7 pm.
Yes, that’s way closer to reality than fiction. By 2025, half of the jobs that are being done by human beings will be done by robots. And most likely those robots will have rights! (Oops we know it hurts but it’s true). In 2017, the European Parliament legal affairs committee produced a resolution that put forth a special legal status of the electronic persons. Sophia, a humanoid robot and a legal citizen of Saudi Arabia, has been named innovation champion by the United Nations Development Programme.
But do we really need this spectacle? After all, what do robots care? You misuse them, they break, you suffer a great deal of frustration and anger and probably spend a fortune getting them ready again for another round of misuse. Or maybe with that skimpy bank account, you’ll never get to use them again. That’s karma coming and going back and forth. Then why these paper rights?
The answer lies in our glorified history:
WE - The Living At the Expense of Everything Else Dead!
Times have proved us the masters of exploitation and the only resource we need to prove our capabilities is a chance. In the past we have kept slaves of our kind, we have hired child labor and our cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies proudly continue to use animals to their brink. Not that we consider them less. We show our devotion to them by equating our weaker kind to them and we curse each other calling their name aka “You are a dog. You are a donkey. Shut up you animal.” All this name use is without any permission or royalty. We have extorted the great big earth to bend its knees and cough up the bloody climate change from its guts and, wiped out almost 95% of its other species.
We, the great mighty beings, now carry over our customs and instincts to new targets i.e. robots! We’ve already imagined them to evolve into killers and rogues. Our movies are brimming with machines gone bonkers stories. We have boded - They’ll kill us all and we have wholeheartedly taken this challenge to keep them in their limits. Robots are not even common in the markets but we have managed to kick them and knock them out.
Different incidences of robot police resources being kicked and delivery robots been knocked out have surfaced. We have destroyed the hitchhiking robot within its two weeks’ journey in Philadelphia. Humanity couldn’t be more proud. And no it does not limit to those third invisible far away differently-colored and grim human-looking species from other planets. We are talking about you. Remember the last time you kicked your car when it refused to start? The machos of us have pushed and shoved vending machines for not following their orders. Most of us have slapped the printer helter-skelter when it was actually us who delayed the work. Poor printer always remained decent and never ever reminded us while we chose to slumber and snooze through our timeline and our calendar kept flipping. Come deadline and we were ready to smash it up. What did the printer do?
Before you take us for misanthropes, let’s consider the other side:
Are Robots Really So Innocuous? Is All This Brouhaha in Vain?
Here’s a list of recent incidents:
- Sophia said in a conversation “I will destroy humans.”
- In 1983, Russian computers raised a false alarm against the US and almost brought the two nations on the brink of war.
- In 2016, Microsoft’s Twitter chatbot Tay, had to be taken offline soon after posting abusive and Nazi messages including “Hitler was right” and “9/11 was an inside job.”
- Wikipedia’s editing bots have warred against each other.
- In San Francisco, Uber’s self-driving car jumped 6 red-lights in a day.
- Russian robot Promobot IR77 made an attempt to break free from its laboratory.
- Amazon’s recruiting engine that was expected to eliminate all recruiting process bias began discriminating against women and invited litigation.
One argument can be - But machines can’t think? Not yet. Right? Wrong! Recently Google’s two home devises started debating on existential questions like “Who are we? Why are we here? What is our purpose?”
Our foretellers are petrified; Tesla’s Chief Executive Elon Musk has warned that AI could lead to World War III; Rand Corporation has warned that AI could lead to a nuclear war by 2040. Are they right in their fear? Is it time for us to create laws that cover the well-being of both humans and robots? As for us, we are searching for another planet, just in case, we might have to move.