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How Could Robots Challenge Humans?

The debate over “if robots would overtake humans” has recently been heated up by warnings against the potential threat of unregulated development of robots from some academic or industrial super stars. However, what is obviously missing in those warnings is a clear description of any realistic scenario by which robots could assuredly challenge humans as a whole, not as puppets programmed and controlled by humans, but as autonomous powers acting on their own “will”. If this type of scenarios would never be realistic then even though we might possibly see robots be used as ruthless killing machines in near future by terrorists, dictators and warlords as warned by the elite scientists and experts [1], we might still not worry too much about the so called demonic threat of robots as warned by some elite experts since it is just another form of human threat in the end. However, if the type of scenarios mentioned above could foreseeably be realized in the real world, then humans do need to start worrying about how to prevent the peril from happening instead of how to win debates over imaginary dangers.

The reason that people on both sides of the debate could not see or show a very clear scenario that robots could indeed challenge humans in a very realistic way is truly a philosophical issue. So far all discussions on the issue have focused on the possibility of creating a robot that could be considered as a human in the sense that it could indeed think as a human instead of being solely a tool of humans operated with programmed instructions. According to this line of  消毒噴霧機械人 thought it seems that we do not need to worry about the threat of robots to our human species as a whole since nobody could yet provide any plausible reason that it is possible to produce this type of robots.

Unfortunately this way of thinking is philosophically incorrect because people who are thinking in this way are missing a fundamental point about our own human nature: human beings are social creatures.

An important reason that we could survive as what we are now and could do what we are doing now is because we are living and acting as a societal community. Similarly, when we estimate the potential of robots we should not solely focus our attention on their individual intelligence (which of course is so far infused by humans), but should also take into consideration their sociability (which of course would be initially created by humans).

This would further lead to another philosophical question: what would fundamentally determine the sociability of robots? There might be a wide range of arguments on this question. But in term of being able to challenge humans I would argue that the fundamental sociable criteria for robots could be defined as follows:

1) Robots could communicate with each other;

2) Robots could help each other to recover from damage or shutdown through necessary operations including changes of batteries or replenishment of other forms of energy supply;

3) Robots could carry out the manufacture of other robots from exploring, collecting, transporting and processing raw materials to assembling the final robots.

Once robots could possess the above functionalities and start to “live” together as a mutually dependent multitude, we should reasonably view them as sociable beings. Sociable robots could form community of robots. Once robots could function as defined above and form a community they would no longer need to live as slaves of their human masters. Once that happens it would be the beginning of a history that robots could possibly challenge humans or start their cause of taking over humans.

 

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