Do you ever envy a dog or a cat for how carefree its life is? Well, perhaps in the not-too-distant future we will finally also be able to forget about our stressful lives and move to a more relaxed existence….as pets for intelligent robots. I know, I know, that seems unlikely and quite scary, but there’s no denying that artificial intelligence is slowly advancing and there are good reasons to think that it may one day become smarter than us. But while people like Bill Gates and Elon Musk are continuing to express their concerns in regards to this matter, another important businessman is looking at the idea of intelligent robots from a different angle.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak recently spoke about this topic – among others – at the Freescale Technology Forum 2015, which takes place during July 22-25 in Austin. Similar to Stephen Hawking and others, Wozniak was also concerned about AI for a while there, but after some careful consideration he arrived at the conclusion that maybe intelligent robots will not be out to get us after all. On the contrary, he now believes that machines will eventually become so smart that they will see a simple truth that many of us still fail to realize – life and nature are important and must be preserved. We might like to see ourselves as being separate from nature, but we’re technically not and thus we are in need of protection as well.
As for the humans becoming like pets part, Wozniak actually talks about it in a good way. Pets don’t usually need to do much and their owner will still feed and take care of them. As unlikely as that sounds right now, this scenario might actually be possible and sounds pretty logical in a strange way. At the very least, intelligent robots would do a much better job at preserving life and nature than we are doing at the moment. I’m not saying that we should look forward to becoming pets for robots, but it definitely doesn’t sound all that bad when we put it like that. Besides, AI would probably not have an emotional need to keep actual pets around them anyway, so humans will (hopefully) be more like curious creatures that need to be protected, usually from each other.
“They’re going to be smarter than us and if they’re smarter than us then they’ll realise they need us,” says Wozniak. “We want to be the family pet and be taken care of all the time. I got this idea a few years ago and so I started feeding my dog filet steak and chicken every night because ‘do unto others’.” He also added that “it’s actually going to turn out really good for humans. And it will be hundreds of years down the stream before they’d even have the ability. They’ll be so smart by then that they’ll know they have to keep nature, and humans are part of nature. So I got over my fear that we’d be replaced by computers. They’re going to help us. We’re at least the gods originally.”
Just yesterday, we learned that Lawrence Krauss is also pretty optimistic when it comes to intelligent robots and what they might think of us. The theoretical physicist believes that AI will ultimately develop true consciousness and emotions, which is why it might try to understand why we do some of the things we do and perhaps even try to guide us down a better path.