There is more than one news report of a tragic accident in Germany. A technician died after being struck in the chest by an assembly robot. What does that tell us about a future where robots run around taking matters into their own metal hands?
This isn’t close to the first incident of unintentional robotic mayhem, where the machines came after us. Over four million, for example, have watched the You Tube video of a self-parking car demonstration gone horribly wrong.
Still, people are already panicking. There is a groundswell against autonomous operating robotics, including wanting to ban them from the battlefield.
Well, the doubters are going to have to get over their robot-phobia.
Likely as not, robots, including ones that make deadly decisions on their own, are probably in the cards for all our futures. There is already an opera starring a real autonomous robot.
Originally, robots were primarily thought of as instruments to do the “dull, deadly, or dirty” jobs, sparing humans all the drudgery and danger. But, increasingly it looks like the future will be work and living environments where humans and robots function side-by-side collaborating on tasks. Assistive robotics are already being developed to help people with disabilities function in the everyday world.
Like every other activity involving machines there will likely be accidents, as many probably resulting from human error as mechanical mistakes.
The definition of technological progress is learning to balance, and live with, taking the good with the bad.
Meanwhile, Terminator–dude, it’s just a movie.