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Robots Will Either Kill, Enslave or Save Humans

Should we fear robots or embrace them? That question gets more difficult to answer every day as new announcements are released about robotic achievements and advances in artificial intelligence. Just in the past week we’ve seen a realistic robotic dog that can open a door and fight off a human who tries to stop it, a realistic walking humanoid robot that puts out fires, a call to equip robots with kill switches, a warning that robots will use humans as guinea pigs and a call to be cautious rather than dystopic. Which one is it? Boston Dynamics, a world leader in robotics, released two videos of one of its latest inventions – a four-legged SpotMini robot dog that can open a door with its ‘mouth’. The popular first video shows how cute the robotic pet looks as it grabs the knob without the usual canine slobber, while the second, which is called “Testing Robustness,” shows the pit bull wannabe fighting off a human who tries to stop it. Here’s a telling statement from the second video’s commentary: “The ability to tolerate and respond automatically to disturbances like these improves successful operation of the robot. (Note: This testing does not irritate or harm the robot.)” What about irritating or harming humans?

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