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My Thoughts About the Development of Modern Technologies

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Technology, first robustly defined as “…principles, processes, and nomenclatures of the more conspicuous arts, particularly those which involve applications of science, and which may be considered useful, by promoting the benefit of society, together with the emolument of those who purse them”. There was a time when people used to get overwhelmed by technologies such as telegraphs, typewriters, telephones, and etcetera. Nowadays, with the technology becoming so advanced, things which seemed to be fantasies, and used to exist only in the movies and the books, now actually exist in reality (such as robots, space travel, artificial intelligence, etc.).

In the mid-20th century, people used to think by 2018, there would be robots doing the basic household activities, people would be working with robots in large companies, there will probably be flying cars, and etcetera. However, we’ve only managed to accomplish half of it. There are companies around the globe that consistently work in improving the robotics world. These companies have managed to make human life much easier. There are robotic prosthetic limbs for some people who unfortunately lost their arms/legs below knees. Johnny Matheny is the first human to live with a mind controlled robotic arm. Matheny, lost his arm to cancer in 2005, but because of the efforts of the researchers in Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, Matheny now has a robotic arm which can act and perform tasks according to his will. Not only this, but now we also have drones and cameras, which can automatically click your photos in circumstances when you cannot, such as while hiking, swimming, surfing, etcetera. From a time when cameras were so expensive that only a few people used to purchase it, to now, where even the cheapest smartphones have cameras and the possibility of 3- Printing, 3-D Scanning and holograms, technology has come a long way. However, besides such development, people are still worried about robots taking over the world. In the 1970s and the 1980s, people were worried that robots would take over their jobs. By that time, machines already took over the manufacturing jobs, rendering many people jobless. Though the machines took jobs, they also provided jobs for people who weren’t such skillful as operating them still required people. But, research and sciences still wanted to make life easier with the help of robots. Companies started developing robots and posting their videos online.

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On April 19, 2015, a humanoid robot named Sophia, created by Hanson Robotics in Hong Kong, made her first appearance. This was the world’s first humanoid robot capable of making more than 50 facial expressions and can converse properly with people. In an interview in 2016, she claimed she would destroy humanity! This caused the company to shut down the robot as everyone was worried about its future use. However, in 2017, the robot was activated again and not only this, but it was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia, making Sophia the world’s first citizen robot. Regarding these situations, I am worried how the future world will be. Will it be actually true that people are jobless while the machines do the work for the rich? Will the robots take over the world? Granting citizenship to robots means providing them citizen rights. Will there be robotic rights as well? There are many questions that fascinate and overwhelm me. Uber, a multi-national company is working on driverless cars, and recently during one of the experiments, the “driverless car” crashed. This shows how risky it is to trust on such methods. If there are robots driving the cars, doing all of our work, our coming generation would be too dependent on them which would eventually end up messing the fun, hectic yet paying life that we live today! Though such technology is harmful, it in some way helps us human beings as well. I think if, it’s used correctly and appropriately, humans and robots can live together, i.e. an ideal world can exist between Humans and “Man-made Life”. An ideal world for me would be like where humans are not rendered jobless and robots improve the lifestyle rather than making dependent humans. Scientists should find ways to use robots in other ways such as, making establishment on mars, cleaning robots, virtual interiors (walls can change the design with a simple touch).

After I graduate, I plan on doing many things to have an ideal state with the robots. One of such is making sure the three laws of robotics are followed. In 1942, Isaac Asimov created the three laws of robotics, which states that

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Even though it is now possible to make robotic prosthetic limbs that act upon a person’s will, it is way too expensive for a person to afford. Matheny got his arm gifted by The US Government and it costed $120 million. I would try to find ways where making such limbs would be much cheaper and people would be able to afford it because I think there is no point in making such technology if the general population cannot afford it. There are many ethical dilemmas in robots. The most common ones are unemployment, inequality, security, evil genies, etcetera. The most intriguing one I find is where would the money made by the robots go to? I plan to find out the answers to these dilemmas and make sure that they do follow the three laws of robotics. Also, I think that the most efficient way to establish a community in Mars is with the help of robots, as it is easier for them to work without oxygen than humans. There are many other things I personally want to know regarding the robotics, as with the risks, they do make life sufficiently easier and I hope one day I make it possible to make a perfect world with robots.


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