Skynet, Joshua, and The Machines

We’ve all seen the movies, and some have read the books; robots are not to be trusted. Therefore, I understand why certain individuals might be off put by the idea of using drones in commercial aspects. after all, Skynet started off as a simple defense network system, put in place to protect the United States in the event of a nuclear war, and ended up nearly destroying the human race after it became self-aware. Similarly, Dr. Falken’s Joshua started out as a computer capable of learning basic strategy, but after giving it control of the U.S. Nuclear arsenal, it seems all you needed to do was ask it to play a little game and it would begin acting out world war 3 in real time. And what about the Machines in Isaac Asimov’s book, The Evitable Conflict? They had the three laws of robotics hardwired into their systems, but nevertheless, they work their way around the rules and posed a threat to the individual for the sake of humanity. Science fiction has been clear on this fact – robots are bad news for humans. So why should we trust drones? How are they any different? The answer is simple and short: this is reality. The stories told by these well known authors and directors are just as previously stated; they are stories; they are meant to entertain and invoke curiosity in their readers. Some readers have unfortunately taken these ideas too literally and now openly appose technology because of it. This is most unfortunate mainly because it furthers the stereotype that robots, and technology alike, are bad.
It seems that even the common man has some amount of opposition to the idea of drones hovering overhead, and I will admit that the thought can be a bit unnerving. But to test the strength of this argument, I invite the reader to consider this. If I were to go onto Google maps, I could view the home of anyone in the world – from anywhere in the world. And if the Google car has been to your neighborhood, I could view your house as if I was standing in your neighbor’s front yard. But no one seems to have a great fear of Google and its mapping satellites and self-driven cars. Yet when Amazon brought up the concept of delivering packages via drones, some argue now that it’s an invasion of their privacy. It seems to me that this way of thinking has less to do with the infringement of privacy, and more of an issue of the idea that one can see it happening. With Google, it was out of sight, out of mind (even though Google’s main objective was to take pictures of your property, and Amazon is just trying to deliver packages to people in 30 minutes or less). Maybe everyone just needs to agree to a few realities; robots are not going to rise up against us, you’re always being watched by someone – get used to it – and above all, let’s keep the nukes in our own hands.

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