Over the years we’ve seen many technological advancements, some of which we’ve been grateful for and others that we’ve been more than a little anxious about.
We started by adapting to using things like computers in our everyday lives and GPS became second nature, meaning we didn’t have to keep pulling over and looking at maps or asking for directions. We’ve even managed to get so comfortable trusting technology to do the small things that we’ve allowed for more than a few subtle changes to occur in our lives. Over the past decade, we have seen actual leaps and bounds in technological developments. 10 years ago, the idea that facial recognition software could be used for social means (such as SnapChat) would have seemed like it was part of a Star Trek Fanfiction series.
In the early 2000’s we saw the introduction of robotics in toys, household appliances and such, then in 2009 Google took a giant step by creating a self-driving car. After that it was almost like seeing a domino effect of growth. We saw the introduction of infra-red detection software in games and we even saw companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft introduce software with the ability to answer questions and perform functions.Google’s self-driving car.
With all these beneficial advancements you then have to ask yourself why in 2015 an open letter to ban the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) in weapons was signed by over 3000 researchers, including well known figures like Professor Stephen Hawking himself.
One major reason why scientists may be against the use of AI could be the fact that technology isn’t fool proof. One of the biggest issues with technology (aside from the post-apocalyptic fantasies seen in blockbuster movies where technology begins to fight man,) is the fact that it can be hacked. This may not seem like a huge issue when we’re looking at computers or banks (though it should) it becomes a massive issue when we start putting that same technology into military weaponry. Hackers are already offering their services via the darknet, to hack into military bot and police drones for a fee.
I wish I could say that it was complicated to hack a drone, but some sites have even laid steps out for people like me who are useless with technology. The reality of the situation is that the ability to hack military weapons is dangerous for everyone involved. It’s not only a problem if opposing sides get hold of the technology, it’s also a problem if the everyday hacker does. Someone who has no idea how to work a weapon can cause serious damage to people just by trying to prove to someone that they have the skills to take control of it.
Necessity is the mother of invention, but it seems like we’ve put so much faith in technology to do the things that we used to need humans for that we’re almost making humans obsolete. Walking, talking ‘feeling’ sex robots even exist now. Is enough finally enough? Or is this just the inevitable next step in evolution? I’m not sure I want to stick around to find out.