Has anybody had the fortune of seeing the future? No, none of us can travel in time and see how the future will be, but all of us do posses the power to speculate how it could be.
Today, the entire world functions because of the various inventions, discoveries and improvements in the world of science and technology. Be it the tablet for a minor headache or chemotherapy for Cancer, the primitive telephone or the hi-tech iPhone, the typewriter or the palm tops, the robots or the terminators, we owe it all to science.
I don’t want to be just content with all the technological amenities that we have today. I want to speculate, I want to imagine, to discuss how the future in the world of technology and science could be. There can be two extremities in this discussion, one being that of complete harmony and bliss, perfect co-existence with humanoids and enjoying a luxurious life, where machines do all the work, the other one being situation right out of the Terminator: Salvation movie.
Robotics is a field of science which is relatively new compared to the others, but it has progressed a lot faster than the others. Robots are those machines, which can move on their own, can mechanically move limbs, perform activities, display artificial intelligence, and be as close in their features to humans and animals as possible.
People have written about robots and their imagination of them from a long time, but they actually came into existence only in the 20th century. They were created for purely industrial and research purposes, but now they’re a common feature in any industry, doing the work, that would otherwise prove to be dangerous for humans to do. On the other hand, they are even being used as domestic help. Recently there has been a Humanoid developed which can display facial expressions. It has been programmed in such a way, that it can aptly react to what is being said with its expressions.
There have been movies which depict, the machine getting the better of man, the portrayal and roles of Gynoids-robots which look like women- and many others, create a sense of fear of these machines. But is it likely that such a situation actually arise? Are we to fear them or decrease our dependency on them?
Scientists of the Biotechnology and biological sciences research council, UK have created a Robot called Adam. Adam is a robot scientist, who has made a discovery in genomics. The robot had been programmed to perform without the need for human intervention.
To some, this may sound like a wonderful event, of a robot discovering new scientific knowledge, but may horrify others to think that a robot posses such intelligence. These two reactions actually refer to two different perspectives of the same development.
To me, it sounds like a wonderful development, where humans and robots can work hand in hand to great discoveries and achievements. We could put robots to such a wide range of uses. They could be sent into space to planets farther away than Mars, they could land on the surface of the planets irrespective of their atmospheres, they could be sent into deep mines for research, they could be used to delve deeper into the earth’s crust for research, they could be used for underwater research etc. They could be put to use in any situation where man himself would not be able to do anything.
But what has a pro-element, also posses a con-element. Let’s imagine the opposite, if these powerful machines were put to use for war. As it is, we have intelligent missiles, which are dangerous enough. Intelligent robots may at some point of time mean end of mankind itself, it may really bring about a situation like that of ‘The Matrix’ or ‘The Terminator’. There are other aspects also which are to be considered, like the amount of energy used to supply power for the robots, the waste of the increasing human resource, the effect of too much electromagnetism to our health etc.
To conclude, Robots are very efficient in their work and we can make great progress if we put them to use, for the betterment of mankind, but if one evil mind would use it for purposes of violence, it would be the end of mankind itself. With great power of creation also comes great responsibility.
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/donsolo/2458233987/]