Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22718 – 968
Here’s the haps:
Many of you know that, growing up, I was a bookworm. This worried a lot of family members so much that I was sent to the grandparents in the country frequently and one whole summer I spent on my uncle’s dairy farm. I had a lot of fun out in the country but I never stopped loving to read. I remember being fairly young and reading I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. I was impressed by the Three Laws of Robotics and thought robots sounded really cool.
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
One of the main characters, Susan Calvin (I’m going off the book, not the hollyweird adaptation) is a psychologist for robots.
Then I started reading the comic book series, Magnus, Robot Fighter, 4000 A.D. and saw that evil was afoot. The robots would take over and enslave and destroy humanity. Long, boring technical stuff aside, at that time the computer in Apollo 11 had 4kb of RAM and a 32kb hard drive(Yes, computer wizards, it’s nowhere near an exact description but clear enough for the average person). My point is that the computers we have today were only the wildest fantasies of yesterday. Remember Garry Kasparov beat 32 computers simultaneously before IBM finally developed Deep Blue in 1997. But now they are gaining on us. And winning.
Call anywhere and a robot answers the phone, figures out which department you need to go to, who you should talk to and how long you will have to wait. It’s very rare to hear an actual human answer the phone although the robots use human and human-like voices that are very deceptive. You can call a business and complete your transaction and never talk to a live person.
But the clincher for me that lets me know we have lost the fight already came the other day when my wife and my daughter began pacing the floor at the same time. Every hour on the hour, until I finally asked what was up. Their new watches told them they had to get up and take so many steps or they would fail. These are exceptionally intelligent people and they are listening to their watch. I said, “Okay, robots. We lose. You win. Please be kind to us when you put us in your people zoos.”
So surely, you’re following Elon Musk’s foray into robotics. That man can’t stop thinking.
I haven’t always liked the man but I have to say that lately he’s been…interesting? He’s rich enough now that he’s not a mad scientist anymore, he’s eccentric, lol.
He is definitely ‘interesting’. He does very odd things, but along the way, gets a lot done. I keep an open mind about him.
So funny, I read some of those same books and said I would never own one. Well you know how that went. I honestly have a degree in programming and trouble shooting those nasty things.
Ah-HAH! Now I know who to blame.
I’ve got a story I keep writing about a robot that used to be human. But I also love Data from Star Trek. Not because he wants to be human, but because his flaws make him one already.
A robot that used to be human would be a very interesting character, indeed!
Remember, even Susan Calvin had some difficult problems with deviations from The Three Laws, either instigated by humans who found a couple of them too restrictive, or by the robot’s programming errors. 😉
Susan was flawed, herself, of course, being human.
I’m genuinely concerned. I think people should not allow Alexa in their houses. Alas, it seems no one reads science fiction anymore.
This story from 1955 is kind of eerie in foretelling the internet. And entertaining, too.
That was so cool! And eerie. Why oh why does everyone like every thing remembering their lives?
I don’t know. People say they are afraid of the government tracking them when they post publicly what they had for lunch and where.
Exactly. I guess the attention is great…
Interestingly enough, this eventuality was predicted in Karol Capek’ 1923 play “R.U.R.” which to my knowledge is the work from which the word robot originates.
Okay, I had to Google it but now it rings a bell. The Roboti do take over the world.
Indeed they do.
FYI: The robots are featuring you in their secret global news coverage this week, Herb. ~Ed.
Oh, boy, are you right, Herb! And the scary part is these people track us! And I won’t buy Alexa, it’s just another tracking device! Btw, I’ve been looking for Ben’s site and blog and haven’t found it today! I hope he’s okay and Isabel is okay!
It was working just now when I looked at it so hopefully it was a temporary glitch.
Thank you so much, Herb!
I had not thought about telephone auto-attendants as robots, but you are right. Robots are not just the kind from Lost In Space anymore.
No, they’re very sneaky, aren’t they?