Robotics is in itself one of the most exciting field in science and technology. When you couple it with artificial intelligence (AI) you get one of the most widely researched topics in the world. When one talks about AI the first thing in their head is “The Terminator” series. It is filled with robots armed with AI wanting to destroy the human race. It’s a very scary and dangerous thought, come to think of it.
God has given the most advanced brain to the humans which suit us well. But if we provide a very advanced and similar thinking process to the robots, what would happen? Imagine robots with the ability to make their own decisions, to think for themselves just like us. This could result in either the robots helping us in a much more efficient manner or it could bring about a doomsday for the humans. I believe the answers are not very far off because robotics has advanced really fast in the past decade. And artificial intelligence is no longer science fiction but rather a reality. New robots equipped with AI are coming and are being tested and researched upon.
So what exactly is this artificial intelligence in the field of robotics? It is basically the development of robots that can perform tasks normally using human intelligence like visual perception and speech recognition. In short, robots that can freely think for self and make independent decisions to complete a task like a human. Intelligence is best described as the ability of an individual to adapt to one’s behavior to new circumstances. It is not easy to copy human intelligence because it is not a single entity. It is composed of abilities like learning, experience, perception, reasoning, common sense and problem solving.
AI researchers are trying to develop intelligent machines that can grasp, learn and reason like humans. They feel that this would help in introducing general intelligence. And by general intelligence I mean, things like social intelligence, judgment, self-awareness and common sense. These things might seem very easy to us but to a robot made up of gears and wires, it is incomprehensible. It simply doesn’t understand all of this.
Imagine if you were asked to just add two 40 digit numbers. It would definitely take a considerable amount of time. And it might not be error free. But to a robot, this would be a piece of cake. It can do all the numerical operations with huge numbers error free and without getting tired. But now if you are asked to do something creative like drawing or composing a poem, I am sure you can definitely do something about it. But a computer would fail miserably. Because creativity is not defined by some lines of coding. It can replicate but not create. And that is what AI researchers are trying to introduce in robots.
There are both pros and cons when it comes to artificial intelligence. With AI the chances of errors are almost zero. It increases their precision and accuracy, even in repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Robotics with AI, have a wide range of applications and can do a lot of good.
But at the same time, the biggest question against their development is a moral one. Is it ethically correct to replicate human intelligence, one of the nature’s biggest gifts? Also, mass introduction of robotics could result in a huge unemployment crisis. And of course, there is the apocalypse theory on how the robots might supersede the humans. The world order could collapse and machines might even enslave the humans.
But whatever might be the good and bad in the AI development in robotics, development is happening. With each day the world is coming closer to seeing robots with artificial intelligence. New robots are being made with partial success. As always new developments in science open up more paths for more development.