[Link] What if there was a robot apocalypse? How long would humanity last?

I’m by no means an expert, but I have some experience with robotics. My first job out of college was working on robots at NASA, and my undergraduate degree project was on robotic navigation. I spent my teenage years participating in FIRST Robotics, programming software bots to fight in virtual tournaments, and working on homemade underwater ROVs. And I’ve watched plenty of Robot WarsBattleBots, and Killer Robots Robogames.

If all that experience has taught me anything, it’s that the robot revolution would end quickly, because the robots would all break down or get stuck against walls. Robots never, ever work right.

What people don’t appreciate, when they picture Terminator-style automatons striding triumphantly across a mountain of human skulls, is how hard it is to keep your footing on something as unstable as a mountain of human skulls. Most humans probably couldn’t manage it, and they’ve had a lifetime of practice at walking without falling over.

[…]

In labs everywhere, experimental robots would leap up from lab benches in a murderous rage, locate the door, and—with a tremendous crash—plow into it and fall over.

[…]

Hours later, most of them would be found in nearby bathrooms, trying desperately to exterminate what they have identified as a human overlord but is actually a paper towel dispenser.

Link: what-if.xkcd.com/5/

Tags: ,

  1. dmytry’s avatar

    To self improve to superhuman intelligence – outdoing our own ability to improve their software by far – you need superhuman intelligence to start with. Strongly superhuman too.

Comments are now closed.