“Unless mankind redesigns itself by changing our DNA through altering our genetic makeup, computer-generated robots will take over our world.” Stephan Hawking
Robots are going to take all our jobs! We see headlines to this effect almost every day. Robots will be our new lovers! Fans of “Westworld” might find that plausible. Robots are going to destroy humanity! Well, more than a few scientists have presented this as a dystopian view of the future. Overall, all these predictions may come about. It is my belief that we will, before we reach utopia, dystopia or the fulfilment of a sexual fantasy world, see six stages in regards to robotic revolution.
In my science fiction thriller, “The Destiny of Our Past” http://amzn.to/2nrU3Ng the society there banned robots in favor of creating lab-grown humans for simple maintenance jobs or sexual slavery. These people have no parents, thus they are denied human rights and safeguards. However, when it comes to technology we have a ways to go before we can choose between organic and synthetic workers.
So what about the possible route to synthetics replacing our workforce?
Stage 1: Yes, we are in Stage 1 in regards to robotics. Remember the scene in Terminator 1 where Arnold is chasing Sarah Conner in the factory and encounters a primitive assembly-arm robotic device. It is as if he is looking back at a primitive ancestor. For the most part we are still at this level. Our robots are more hydraulic, can be used to assemble items, and are mainly programmed to do simple tasks. They have at this point replaced many factory workers who used to pick up car doors and bolt them onto a car, or some similar task, but we are most likely at the end of this stage.
Stage 2: We are seeing this more at the experimental level now, but it will come in soon. To get more versatility we will have to have better mobile energy packs and more flexibility – already we are seeing material that is less like the gears on your car and more like muscle tissue being developed. Add to this at least rudimentary problem-solving skills and here is where you will see robots resembling the ones in “I,Robot” working with people. Naturally these machines will be far stronger than humans and will do heavy construction tasks. Humans will still be necessary for more precision work.
Stage 3: Here is where artificial intelligence advances and production of human-like robots begins. At this point we will see robots taking over more service-oriented jobs. People generally want to see human faces when they enter an establishment. When robots begin to look more like us, blink their eyes, speak like us, we will adapt to synthetic servants. These will be used to take care of the kids or cater to people who have more carnal wishes in mind. Pornography has fueled much of the developments in computer graphics and people’s desire for human substitutes or additional companions will undoubtedly accelerate the development of robots that will look more, feel more, and act more and more, like humans.
Stage 4: By this point just about any job will be handled by robots, and artificial intelligence will have advanced to the stage that you have robots more akin to the fictional “Westworld.” Here is when robots replace fashion models, nurses, doctors, teachers and pretty much all professionals. In fact, our military may by this point be entirely robotic. Naturally this may tip the balance of power from population to the ability to manufacture stronger and more intelligent soldiers and pilots.
Stage 5: We invented machines to enhance our ability to produce more items in our economy. Once we reach stage 5 people may still want to feel equal to their replacements. This is when people will electively choose augmentation be it replacing healthy limbs, organs or neural tissue with superior synthetic alternatives. By this time we may see a guaranteed wage that will be financed by taxes on items built by robots but bought by people. Here we may also see eugenics play a major role in humanity as the birthrate will collapse due to the “living wage” as it will be called will not afford you the big house in the suburbs with a yard, dog and two cars. As many males will turn to synthetic alternatives to real women, and most people will live in small urban apartments, we may see a form of polyamory where women merely find one male to network with, sharing his reproductive services with several other women, or merely turn to donations to have their one child. Governments will encourage these social developments because people will be unnecessary for the economy. Of course by this time we may see advances in virtual reality programs that allow single people to spend their spare time in worlds where their imaginations are the limit. Again, I believe more males than females would opt for this life.
Stage 6: By this time computers will do all our inventing, all our planning; and all our work will be accomplished by robots that look, and act, just like us. Here is where people may take the next step to replace humanity itself. Some scientists have speculated that our first encounter with an alien species will be with robots as other civilizations will have gone through the evolution I have described. Sure, people may be born fully human but once they reach adulthood the idea of staying 100% organic may lose its appeal as peers become superior through trading in limbs, organs or entire bodies for synthetic replacement. And what if people find a way to download the brain into a synthetic version? The entire body might then be disposable.
So will there be hold-outs who refuse to alter themselves; futuristic hippies? I am sure there will be, but the benefits of integrating into a society where you no longer have to work or train for an occupation, and still get money, though at a price, will be enticing to most. And would one feel the same way for their wife or husband if all that existed of the person that you originally met was some brain tissue encased in an artificial cranium and maybe some reproductive cells frozen for possible use at a later date? Before the end of this century we may find out.