The obvious question as these systems improve is whether there will ever be a moment when machines are allowed to decide to kill people without human intervention.
I think we’ll see a similar evolution in autonomous weapons. They will evolve to a point to where they are fully capable of finding and killing their targets, but the designers will keep a single point of control.
And then someone will remove that point of control.
Technologies that we develop to fight our distant wars get brought back, or leak back, into civilian life back home.
The militarization of our police extends to their behavior, and the way they interact with their fellow citizens.
A lot of what we consider high-tech startups work by repackaging low-wage labor.
It’s odd that this human labor is so invisible.
Wealthy consumers in the West have become enamored with “artisanal” products. We love to hear how our organic pork is raised, or what hopes and dreams live inside the heart of the baker who shapes our rustic loaves.
But we’re not as interested in finding out who assembled our laptop.
So is labor something laudable or not?
I wanted to end this talk on a note of hope. I wanted to say that ultimately who commands the robot armies will be up to us.
The real answer to who will command the robot armies is: Whoever wants it the most.
And right now we don’t want it. Because taking command would mean taking responsibility.
What we need to do is grow up, and quickly.
Like every kid knows, you have to clean up your old mess before you can play with the new toys. We have made a colossal mess, and don’t have much time in which to fix it.