The Advantages of Owning a Personal Robot
Human technology has advanced to the stage where robots are not only available to be programmed to do small chores (like the mini-vacuum that would bump into furniture and turn around while cleaning carpets), but they can use voice systems that respond to prompts in a way that makes sense, akin to a two-way conversation. This is due to Artificial Intelligence (AI) which allows robots to complete more and more complex actions due to their programming which can actually allow them to improve upon themselves. This sounds great to many people—imagine aging and having a personal robot that can not only pick out one’s clothes, but selects favorite styles and colors, and makes them match. Another terrific robot would be one that could clean a room, water plants, then prepare its owner’s favorite meal, and even satisfy you sexually. The important thing for people who might be afraid that the robot is actually “thinking,” and might end up being smarter than its owner, is to realize that the robot makes choices based on input. The only way a robot knows that its owner likes chicken pot pie is if the owner has somehow told it this, or ordered that food a number of times that it becomes an ingrained choice. Robots are not really smarter than humans, but due to their vast data capacity and quick processing, they may be better than humans at many things (Armstrong). That sounds like a benefit for any personal robot owner!
People often wonder if robots can or may someday be able to feel emotions or even have souls. Indeed, what may be perceived as emotional or sensitive choices made by robots or through discussed with talking robotic devices are nothing more than programmed responses to input. However, robots can manage far more data than humans in much less time, so they may “say the right things” more often or quickly. Such on-point responses may seem like empathy or concern. This concept was depicted quite movingly in the recent movie Her in which (Jonze) in which the owner developed feelings for his systems operating room, named Samantha. Their discussions were playful and engaging, and eventually resulted in professions of love. While this is not suggesting that robots and their protagonists can actually experience feelings for each other, the fact that the robot quickly discerns appropriate responses and actions will be highly appreciated. In some ways a personal robot is similar to a buddy.
Robots who process and eliminate unnecessary actions while enhancing efficient ones do improve at a rate quicker than humans. This causes some people like Ray Kurzweil anticipate the day where robotic AI surpasses that of human intelligence, called the Singularity. Many thinkers posit this time to be near, approximately mid-2000s. If robotic AI becomes so efficient that it surpasses human capability, this could be harnessed for many positive functions. AI systems could be analysts, accountants, scientists. Already, robots like ours are more productive than humans because they do not get tired or bored, perform actions quickly thus saving time, and are safer if programmed correctly. As AI advances, robots and other processing systems will become proficient at more and more complex tasks. Imagine having an assistant for your deeds who never sleeps, eats or complains! Stuart Armstrong states that “so it’s quite possible AI’s will eventually be able to accomplish anything that a human can. That in itself is no cause for alarm; we already have systems that can do that- namely humans. And if AIs were essentially humans, but with a body of silicon and copper rather than flesh and blood, this might not be a problem for us.”(12).
AI’s could enrich human life in numerous ways today. They perform surgeries without the risk of shaky hands or blurry vision. They build almost anything without having to rest. Some automobile manufacturers are working on vehicles with AI and sensors that can virtually chauffeur their owners wherever they wish to go without experiencing driving fatigue or being tempted to text while behind the wheel. The advantages of robotic constructs and Artificial Intelligence are numerous.
While some people may fear the prospects of a future where machines appear to out-think humans, as occurred when Kubrick, in 2001: A Space Odyssey, wherein the heuristically programmed algorithmic computer (HAL), which was running the spaceship, took over and turned against its human passengers, the robot helper poses no such threat. Its intelligence will be guided by input and limitations in its program so that it performs only those functions for which it is assigned. A personal robot will not travel back in time to enact a vendetta against someone, as it was shown by Butler, in the Terminator science-fiction movie series. Its initially-human created program will not have a learning direction towards violence or destruction of the human race. These are the themes of sci-fi thrillers, but not our personal helper robot.
Thus it appears that the AI transformation is inevitable, including the Singularity. This should be a relief to many, due to the advances in technology, medicine, and other important fields that AI-driven systems will be able to master that humans cannot, due to their inherent limitations of biological needs and time constraints, not lack of intelligence. In fact, with the advances possible from AI and robotic functioning, human life altogether will become easier, more efficient and sustainable, accompanied by an increased lifespan and quality of life. Our robot is the forerunner of these world-altering AI systems.
Of course, while the personal robot will not reach such heights of grandeur, it most surely will enhance the lifestyle of its owner. Having a personal robot to serve tedious functions will free up time for owners to experience things they otherwise would have been denied due to lack of time. The worlds of art, literature, fitness and social interaction, just to name a few, can be available as never before if one has a personal robot to take care of repetitive chores. This is definitely a product whose time has come, and will continue to come even more productively. Such machines will not overtake us, but enable us to be even more human, as we enjoy each other the world around us more than ever.
We are creating a commercial ad for a broad audience who can use help with everyday things. The creation of our bot will assist those in need. While making our product we had some conflicts concerning the design of our piece. Ellen believed that the “Do It All” would become obsolete in a short period of time due to the fact that it was too basic in comparison to other robots previously created. Her main concern being that there will be a newer robot created soon after the one we created. Meanwhile, Jaqueline, Elom, and Miguel believe it is a great idea. Hopefully our product will hold up for the time extent of a lifetime.
Armstrong, Stuart. Smarter Than Us: The Rise of Machine Intelligence. Berkeley, CA: MIRI,
Butler, Jesse. “Un-terminated: The Integration of the Machines.” Brown, Richard and Kevin
Decker, eds. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2009. Print.
Jonze, Spike, dir. Her. Annapurna Pictures. 2013. Film.
Kubrick, Stanley, dir. 2001: A Space Odyssey. MGM. 1968. Film.
Kurzweil, Ray. The Singularity is Near. NewYork: Penguin Books, 2005. Print.
Scott Technology. “Benefits of Robots.” Robotworks. 2 Dec 2015. Web. 2 Dec 2015.