In the above video clip, PBS News Hour’s science correspondent Miles O’Brien explores the question that eats at many of us every other morning: when will the robots take over? He looks at ambulation, cognition and our own empathy with robots. Personally, I’m terrified by next to all of this and I resent humans for being frustrated by their lack of jetpacks and robot slaves. You sick people, beckoning untold calamity into your lives.
It starts with an innocuous stuffed animal that incorporates some sort of robotic element, giving it, say, the ability to blink or play my Smashing Pumpkins tape. Then, by the time I get back from lunch, some evil genius comes at me with an autonomous battalion of flying killing machines that weigh less than a pound, like these things:
This TED talk features Vijay Kumar, who heads the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab, at the University of Pennsylvania. He works with his team to build flying quadrotors: Small, agile robots that swarm, sense each other, and cooperate with each other. They can be used for construction, surveying disasters and, you know, killing stuff. So don’t give me any of your shit about how the future we were promised hasn’t arrived. You not having a hoverboard doesn’t mean anything, bro.
Maybe you’ve seen this: Another failed attempt by the man to shroud the impressively murderous behavior of robots in cuteness and charm. Just picture that ping pong ball as a shrapnel-spewing grenade and you’ll be shopping for your own coffin in 10 minutes. I miss the days when being futuristic meant having a yo-yo with an alien head on it and playing laser tag in the woods. This is just crazy.
Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
If this is the kind of thing scientists do when they’re bored, I can only imagine what they get done when a M.I.B. or some other shadowy government figure has a gun to their heads.
This piece originally ran on Motherboard.