Robots Could Replace Mankind

November 12, 2013

After watching a video of a robot solving the Rubik’s Cube, I’m wondering, and not for the first time, if robots will, someday, replace mankind.

The video was fascinating. We see a man twisting the cube so that the colors don’t match; then he places this cube in a machine and lets the robot solve the puzzle. We see the robot scanning the cube and then getting to work.

The robot didn’t just solve the puzzle, it broke the record of man’s attempt. The human record for solving the Rubik’s Cube is 6 minutes and 24 seconds but the robot’s record-breaking achievement is just 10.18 seconds.

Japanese researchers have developed a robot that can perform functions it was not programmed to do. The machine uses past experience and its own knowledge to make a judgment about the best way to proceed.

The robot had been programmed to fill a cup with water from a bottle. It was then asked to chill the drink while in the middle of doing something else. Although the robot was not told to put an ice cube in the cup, it thinks about it, and then reaches over to put the ice cube in the cup.

In an article in Physorg.com, Bob Yirka, a freelance science and tech writer said, “Being able to learn means that the robot can be programmed with just a very basic set of pre-knowledge that is then built upon for as long as the robot exists, without additional programming – not unlike how human beings start out with very little information at birth and build upon what they know and are able to do over a lifetime.”

We are probably looking at robotics in its infancy which means that, in the not so distant future, it is very likely that robots will be programmed to build other robots. When that happens, it is also likely that robots will be able to program robots to think, to use logic, and to apply critical thinking skills to situations that, until now, only humans have been known to do.

And I still keep wondering if, someday, robots will replace mankind. If they are built without emotions, they will be a vast improvement over mankind because they will bypass the human emotions of greed, malice, envy, hatred, prejudice, and intolerance.  It’s too bad that they will also bypass love.

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