I, Robot

So here goes my first thought. It is not really an idea, rather just an observation.

People started using tools, building machines, making robots, all which they could control and tell what to do. They have imagined that as technology advances, humans will only do the thinking part and all the physical tasks will be done by robots. It’s a nice utopia, us lying back on the couch, telling the robots to do this, do that, just like an emperor.

I think exactly the opposite has started to happen with the advent of internet and basic AI. If I want to drive somewhere, the GPS tells me where to go, if I want to find (out) anything, Google tells me where to look for it, nowadays I even search for basic How to questions. OK, I know we still have the machines to do the hardest part of the work for us and we still do the very intellectual part of designing the algorithms, but from daily life thinking is slowly fading away.

I wonder if there has been a novel/movie about this. In XX century, people thought that in XXI century they will just voice control a robot telling it to go somewhere, do whatever etc. In XXI century, we are told where to go and what to do to get our goal done. And I fear the situation is getting worse. So who are the robots after all?

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3 Responses to “I, Robot”

  1. Dnes Says:

    This is somewhat oversimplified. One might argue that asking the right question is the true thinking. (Siri, how can I cook grilled cheese without getting up from the couch?) Of course these are things one might figure out for herself, yet ideally by leaving these near-encyclopedic tasks to the machines you have more time for other creative things. In his book ‘Average is over’, Tyler Cowen argues (imo very tediously) that in the labor market skills that compliment the computers skills will become most valuable, as these human-AI tandems are way more efficient than either one alone.

  2. domotorp Says:

    Sure, I agree that most of what we search for is encyclopedic but what about planning which way to go? You can again say that it is just running a Dijkstra or A* but it is some thinking that most people don’t do anymore.

    And what is this quoting economists on my blog? I am not that obsessed with jews…

  3. daveagp Says:

    I’m no economist so I can recommend this hippie dude here instead about tandems: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/StrategyLetterV.html

    So it makes sense! By making humans expendable, the robot companies can turn a great profit.

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