My thanks for the copy of Popular Mechanics (March 2017). I naturally turned to the page, ‘Mecha Mechanical Monsters’ (page 30). After reading it with much interest, memories of my early childhood came flushing back. In the 1971 film Omega Man ( based on the 1954 novel I am Legend), Charlton Heston, did not have what we would call a superior intellect, but he had a goal – to kill his victim. We are in possession of slaves, which are persistent plodders.
Computers do many things brilliantly. In 1994, one of them defeated the chess grand master Gary Kasparov. When taught the rules of a game, they can often defeat their own teachers. They are able to sort through billions of pieces of information in seconds, solving problems in mathematics and data processing that no human would be even able to attempt. But, they can only do one thing at a time. Now, a new method of programming computers has been discovered, software that may not only enable machines to outperform the human mind, but may also enable machines to actually think for themselves.
The creatures we create might not like the human race as we do. The obvious danger is that we might not be around much longer, or we might lead just a slave-like existence. People who say it will never happen are not being realistic. If something is more intelligent than us, we will not be ‘Top Dogs’ on Earth any more. This is the logical conclusion of work in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence. It is frightening; I don’t like to think about it. But if machines can be made as intelligent as humans, then that’s really it for mankind.
It will not be difficult, in the near future, for malicious people to build killer robots. It may be, of course, that an Omega Man scenario will never come into existence. But it nevertheless remains as one of the terrifying possibilities of the not-so-distant future.
To the Popular Mechanics team, thanks for the interesting and amazing magazine. Krish De Chesarae Pillay Take it easy, Krish. – Lindsey