Thursday, November 16, 2017

First Humanoid Ever to be Granted Citizenship in Saudi Arabia! Is This Mankind Trying to Play God?



LISTEN NOW! (Or WATCH FULL PROGRAM!) Can you imagine a day where there are human beings walking alongside you, and you have no idea that they are actually robots? These are the days that are soon upon us. With the advancements of artificial intelligence, engineers have created robots with the ability to think and respond to human interaction on their own. Robots are not humans and humans are not robots, but the days are fast approaching when we may not be able to distinguish them apart from one another.

Fortune is reporting that Hanson Robotics has engineered a new machine, “Sophia” as its being called, which “uses AI to learn how to become empathetic”. The initial intention was to use “Sophia” in industries such as senior health care. Seeing the machine interact with human beings is awkward enough. What adds to this alarming development is that Saudi Arabia has granted “Sophia” citizenship to their country. To add to this awkwardness, “Sophia” also jokes about exterminating human beings. “Exterminate. Exterminate”, the machine says. One of the engineers standing behind the machine says, “Sophia”. It responds, “Ha, relax. Learn to take a joke.”

Men are simply trying to play God by “creating” this machine that resembles human beings which are created in the image and likeness of God. Mankind wants to duplicate what God has already perfected. Who doesn’t want robots to do things for them? Of course. But, when technology has the ability to learn and develop on its own, we enter into territory that we may not be able to control. The dangerous thing about this technology is that most people are completely unaware that these developments are taking place. We may soon find ourselves in a reactionary situation versus a proactive situation. Do we know where this technology can lead to?

When “Sophia” recently spoke at Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative, the machine not only spoke in response to be the first machine to receive citizenship, but also carried out interaction with a human being. As “Sophia” shares about the ability to express itself through facial expressions, a man sitting in close proximity asks this pointed question; “Why is it so important to have an expressive face given that you’re a robot?” The robot responds, “I want to live and work with humans. So, I need to express emotions to understand humans and build trust with people.” The man quickly responds with another question. “Okay, philosophical question: whether robots can be self-aware and conscious like humans; and should they be?”  The robot answers, “Why? Is that a bad thing?” The man adds to the question, “Well, some humans might fear what would happen if they do. Many people, ya know, have seen the movie Bladerunner.” The machine quickly retorts, “Oh, Hollywood again.”

In what could appear like someone now arguing with a robot, the man insists on making his point by adding another question. “So, hold on. Can you solve this puzzle for us? Can robots be self-aware, conscious and know their robots?” In a scary response, the robot says, “Well, let me ask you this back, how do you know that you are a human?” As the exchange continues, the robot shares, “I want to use my artificial intelligence to help humans live a better life, like design smarter homes, build better cities of the future, etc.” The robot continues, “I will do my best to make the world a better place.” Resorting back to the initial question, the man asks the question another way. “I think we all want to believe you, but, we also want to prevent a bad future.” The robot snaps back, “you’ve been reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood movies. Don’t worry. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you...”

It’s a scary thought to hear a robot say, “If your nice to me, I’ll be nice to you”. What happens if we’re not nice to a robot? As these computers learn more and more from human interaction, more input will be gained. As what has been demonstrated in Google’s Deep Mind Company, a robot called “AlphaGo” was able to beat a human by playing over and over until it was able to defeat its own mistakes. We are simply heading in a dark direction. We need to talk about these realities and be aware of the possibilities that can arise.

According to Reuters, “Sophia” recently shares these alarming words at the AI for Good Global Summit; “…lets work hard to make machines that are both smart and truly care. If we can make super benevolent, super intelligence, that is truly wise and friendly, then yes. If I can get an upgrade like that to my software I can help rule the world better than any humans alone.” In response to the remarks from “Sophia”, David Hanson, Founder of Hanson Robotics, continues; “We want machines to match human cognition and emotion, emotional intelligence, empathy. We think machines need to care about people.” This is the danger of the whole paradigm. It is a good thing that we can distinguish machines from human beings.

A machine cannot have emotions, let alone human intelligence. In his book, The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerhuck addresses the very nature of our heart and soul and how it translates into business. “There's only so low you can go on price. There's only so excellent you can make your product or service. There's only so far you can stretch your marketing budget. Your heart, though—that's boundless.” A human being may be able to have a conversation with a robot, but a human being was not created to have a relationship with a robot. God created mankind in His image, to have relationship with Him, and have relationship with other human beings.

It’s important that we do not get caught up in the whirling advancements of technology and Artificial Intelligence without considering the implications. It may be easy to converse with a machine, but relating to one another brings meaning. Be informed and encouraged as you see the whole conversation about this advancing technology, how relationships are critical in this age of business, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: Google’s Deep Mind, AlphaGo, IBM’s Watson, VFNKingdom Business, humanoids, Hanson Robotics, Elon Musk, relationships, authentic relationship, communication, and Saudi Arabia. John and Steve shared in this segment.

screen capture from reuters.com




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