Thanks to movies like I Robot, The Terminator, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, robots get a pretty bad rap for plotting to take over the world and enslave the human race that created them. Fortunately for the reputations of friendly neighborhood robots everywhere, however, such conspiracy theories of a technological takeover are generally considered science fiction (emphasis on the “fiction” part). That is, until now.
Is your Roomba vacuum about to sync with Siri and take you hostage? British scientists plan to find out.
Cambridge University researchers at the The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) plan to determine whether technology could end up destroying human civilization by studying the existential threats posed by biotechnology, artificial life, nanotechnology and climate change. Think it’s all a joke? The scientists involved certainly seem pretty serious about it, saying that dismissing concerns of a potential robot uprising would be “dangerous.”
While the researchers admit that “the seriousness of these risks is difficult to assess”, they feel that uncertainty in and of itself is cause for concern, given what’s at stake. Creeped out yet? Here are a few more chilling quotes from a professor involved in the study: