Leading expert in AI says that robots will never rise up against humans because they will become part of the family

A British expert on artificial intelligence is bucking the general wariness regarding increasingly intelligent robots. In a report from The Telegraph, he claims that robots are not going to overthrow humankind in the distant future because they are going to become beloved members of human families.

Dr. Nigel Shadbolt of Oxford University (Oxford) says that the current era will see children growing up alongside robots that they consider to be friends. When they grow old and feeble, those same children will eventually be cared for by other intelligent machines.

Despite this increasing dependence on robots, Shadbolt is adamant that there is no reason to be afraid of sentient robots attacking humans. He acknowledges that the portrayals of AI in various movies depict them as bad, mad, and very dangerous to get close to. However, he also adds that artificial intelligence is not scary. What should be of concern to people is “natural stupidity,” he tells his audience at the Hay Festival event.

Shadbolt said that machines are not going to wake up and become super-capable because they do not possess that ability, to begin with. The super-intelligence that he and other AI experts are working on are very specialized at achieving specific jobs and only those jobs. So far, he says, no one has come up with a general characterization of artificial intelligence. Neither has anyone figured out how to get an AI to switch from its assigned job to a different job. (Related: Scientists have created robots that have rib cages, flexible spines, and can SWEAT.)

Humans are projecting their emotions and intentions onto robots and AI

Shadbolt acknowledges that the ability of devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home to talk with their users is freaky for many people. He argues, however, that it will be humans who choose to take the next step in the relationship with robots. And it won’t involve humans trying to destroy all AI.

Instead, he says humans will start to empathize with robots as they spend more time together. The intelligent machines will go from mere devices to doting companions that accompany humans from childhood to old age.

“We project emotions and intentions onto these systems,” he remarks. “It doesn’t matter that there’s nobody at home in the circuits, just a very good answer chatbot. It doesn’t matter. We will become extraordinarily attached to them.”

Shadbolt mentions a memorial ceremony for more than 100 Aibo robot dogs that took place during May 2018. Sony refuses to repair the older versions, so the broken-down Aibos were given a Buddhist send-off while their teary owners bid them goodbye. Another example cited by the U.K. professor is “Watson,” the IBM supercomputer that defeated two champions of the U.S. quiz show Jeopardy in 2011. The AI in question could draw upon a huge database of information and its machine learning was trained by watching previous episodes of the quiz show. During the contest, it appeared to be smart and even showed signs of apparent awareness. However, Shadbolt says Watson did not experience any sense of great satisfaction as it defeated two of the smartest humans on the planet.

Expert says smartphones are the true wonders of the 21st century

Instead, what he heaps plenty of praise on is the smartphone. He describes the mobile device as one of the biggest marvels of modern technology, a super-computer that can fit in the pocket of one’s pants. Shadbolt says people should be much more impressed and even amazed at the technology inside every smartphone. He likens them to the pyramids of the 21st century or the cathedrals of medieval times, which are massive memorials to the works of earlier ages and generations.

Read more news about AI and robots at Robots.news.

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