Robots and the human extinction

We already know robots are gunning for our jobs. If you haven’t caught up with the news, check out our story on job-stealing robots here[1]. And it isn’t only menial jobs that are going to the bots. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes more sophisticated, we expect even more jobs to be lost to automation — including the world’s oldest profession, prostitution.

(Featured Image: DailyMail & Break Media)

A race to build the first sex robot is underway. Engineer and futurist Ian Pearson thinks robophilia, or the act of sleeping with robots, will overtake human intercourse by 2050. “A lot of people still have reservations about sex with robots at first but gradually as they get used to them, as the AI and mechanical behaviour and their feel improves, and they start to become friends with strong emotional bonds, that squeamishness will gradually evaporate”, said Dr Pearson.

Robot or human?


(Image: Andragy)


While current AI technology still trails far behind human brains, there have been some surprises. A chatbot named Eugene Goostman came close to clearing the Turing Test in a contest a couple of years ago. Detailed in this The Age article, Goostman convinced a third of the human judges that it indeed was the real deal.

The Turing Test assesses an AI’s ability to hold a conversation via a computer terminal, or text, without any physical cues. The trick is to convince a human judge that it is human. The objective is if a judge was less than 50 per cent accurate – or if he was unable to identify who’s computer and who’s human, then the AI is a passable simulation of a human being and therefore is intelligent.

However, it may also choose to avoid answering a question and sidestep any “trick” questions to uncover its identity. Computational linguist James Curran from Sydney University said: ”Goostman avoided answering most of the questions – so he might make a good politician but not a human.” Together with Dr Curran, many experts are skeptical that a bot today would be able to pass the Turing Test convincingly.

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