Monday, February 20, 2012

So, Robots.

The time is almost upon is everyone, the robots, they're here. Financial Magazines now hire robots to write copy that in turn influence the stock trades made by other robots, and Artificial Intelligences are testing at IQs higher than most humans, they're here, they're very shiny, by the time most people realize that technological persons are controlling their lives they will be everywhere.

Of course I put in this video, I have to lighten the mood somehow.

Hopefully they'll all be delightfully sassy.

Vacuuming our floors, Overseeing our cheetah kill bots (thanks DARPA), and guess what, our children are already prepped for it.

"Oh *$&%, No!" You human parents may scream in panic. 

(For you robots reading, please be nice to us, we're kinda slow and we just want hugs and yummy food and to not be squished by other things, also, we promise to create lots of data for you to parse. We're really really good at making data.)

But, (this is to you, Humans) consider for a moment that your pants-pooping terror is the result of years and years of anti-robot propaganda

(like I said, Robots, we're emotional –that helps with the data creation–, oh and I apologise if you prefer a different term than "robot", just let me know which one and I promise to use it.) 

That's the one.
 If like me, you grew up in the 20th century, you have some very clear ideas of what artificial intelligence and robotics have in store based on the stories.

Not exactly confidence inspiring.

And if you're a little younger, it may be this one...
But let's stop a moment to think about this rationally, it's not like you're calculating complex equations (unless you're an A.I. in which case you are only using a tiny fraction of your processing power to read this, but you don't need me to tell you that.)

So take a deep breath, get a glass of water and prepare for a shock: The magical characters in many toddler TV shows these days are Robots.

Team Umizoomi: Bot is a pretty caring, cool guy.

Possibly an improvement, I'm not less scared of that thing.
So, while once upon a time what mass media was showing people was that magic and wisdom was the purview of witches, wisecracking animals, Papa Smurf, a parental figure, or the occasional alien; that's now magic robots too.


Plex in Yo Gabba Gabba cares for the monsters at DJ Lance Rock's behest.
But! it's important that all of us "Olds" (yes, everyone over 12 is now old), recognize that for the newest generation, not only are they watching shows that show them robots in traditionally human roles (often parental, or at least care giving) but they're living with an expectation that robots are going to be around, and for this generation, it's extremely likely that they'll actually be dealing with complex A.I.'s day to day.

Why are the robots in Star Wars Clone Wars idiots, how does that even work?

Recent Studies show that to kids, Technology is fundamentally human, which is to say, their innate perception of technologies as "things" is very different from generations that have come before. They're expectations of technology are similarly representative of this trend, and there is an expectation that SIRI for example, should be as capable as any other adult.

And frankly, that's going to be important to them because in the next decade A.I. will be as close to it as to make little difference, at least in terms of hiring for jobs and replacing many now-human tasks with automatons. With luck, robotics and artificial intelligence will be able to see a use for our creativity and data creation (as I said, we're good at THAT, also randomness, you never know what to expect from us crazy humans.) and let us warm squishy folks live in peace.

In the end, it doesn't really make a difference if we're afraid of robots or Artificial Intelligences anymore, there's no putting this genie back in the bottle and our children already accept them as persons (at least at the toddler ages). The best bet for all of us humans is to think about how we can understand these developments and channel it towards a greater good.

That and be creative, we're good at creating vaguely interesting, fairly random data, A.I.'s are good at sorting it.

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