“Some of My Best Friends Are Robots” and Other Things You’ll Say in the Future

“If you assume any rate of advancement in AI, we will be left behind a lot.” – Elon Musk

The Robots Are Coming
Robots that are virtually indistinguishable from humans will be part of human societies in less than twenty years, a modest estimate.

The strides made in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in the last five years are remarkable, and like always, humanity is not prepared for the future it’s creating for itself. It’s why, right now, few people have anticipated the conversations that we need to start having–conversations about issues like: machine rights, robot discrimination, offensive words that are socially unacceptable to call robots, human-robot sexual relations and marriage, capital punishment for murderous robots, and on it goes. These kinds of questions seem too unreal and bizarre to give serious thought to right now. The problem is, once these questions aren’t unreal or bizarre, we won’t have the luxury of thinking freely about them. We’ll already be living in a world of humans who integrate their own biology with AI/robotics in order to enhance their abilities, gain new ones, and stay competitive with robots. As human brains become modified with artificial intelligence, the metaphysical question of human identity will confront each of us. But for the most part, it’ll be too late to start thinking about this question in a serious way.

As artificial intelligence becomes more lifelike, we will interact with machines similar to how we interact with humans. A man walking down the street will clip his shoulder against the shoulder of a robot, and he’ll be well past the point of wondering if you should apologize to robots. He’ll just say “Excuse me” or “I’m sorry” to a machine. And with these kinds of day-to-day interactions, we’ll fail to really confront questions about what makes us human.

One day, a friend of yours is going to come to you and tell you that he’s met and fallen in love with the most amazing person, and he’ll want you to meet her. When you meet her, you find out she’s a robot. Continue reading