Robot Apocalypse

By Caleb Keith

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Robot Apocalypse Sci-fi movies have been warning us for ages, the robot apocalypse is coming. DARPA just had a large-scale robotics competition, where teams of researchers competed to show just how far advanced robotics technologies have come. Most of these robots failed hilariously, falling over and barely managing to walk around an obstacle course.

Here’s a YouTube video showing some of the best moments.

While these robots provide no justification to fear the robot apocalypse, plenty of other robots should. Airborne drones would be a current popular example. Drones, on their own, are essentially hobby kit helicopters. It’s the technologies that can be added to them that are worth fearing: cameras with facial recognition software and firearms to name a few. I don’t believe these drones or even robots in general will become self-aware and gun down the human race. The problem will be the men behind the machines. Like I wrote in my previous article humans are really good at manipulating technology for the worse rather than the better. In particular, governments and organizations with widespread agendas have found real value in drones and robotics technologies. We are entering a time where a new concealed police state can exist outside of public knowledge or control.

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Instead of guards on every corner, robots and drones can be concealed in the distance or in the sky secretly watching. Or perhaps your own cellphone is secretly listening and watching your every move. With the use of facial recognition computers can identify criminals, and a man behind a desk can press a green button for tracking and red button for kill. This won’t be a reality soon; it’s a reality now.

While technologies like this aren’t used to kill criminals on U.S. soil, they are used in the war on terror. The decision to use this technology is something that can arguably save the lives of American soldiers. However the ethical question arises, how far is too far? If it is appropriate to use this technology abroad to stop terrorists and save lives, is it appropriate to use the same technology to stop atrocious crimes from happening here at home? Is it right for the government to have accesses to a citizen’s biometric data for monitoring criminal activity? These are questions I alone cannot answer, but I can say that I am deeply troubled by the idea of giving up personal freedom, or rights, out of fear.

Don’t let fear of government tracking stop you from buying your next iPhone and don’t stop going outside because a drone might be watching. Instead, educate yourself on what the future might hold and decide on which side you stand. That way you can make a difference when the time for decisions on privacy, robotics, and other governmental technology use does need to be made.

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