Can robots take over the earth, and why?

SHAHIN, ZEINA 20 Reputation points

Dear community members,

I hope this message finds you all in good health, my name is Zeina Shahin I am a 7th grader at Rose Hill Middle school and we are doing a "what if" question. My question is "can robots take over the earth, and why?" I would really like to know your opinions about my question, and I hope you can answer the question. Thank you!



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  1. Matt Eland 76 Reputation points MVP

    Hi Zeina! Thanks for your question. I love your curiosity on this topic.

    I'm going to answer this with a clear "no" - for the moment, at least. Robots cannot take over our planet. But let's talk about why they can't.

    First of all, the hardware in robots isn't there yet. Robots are not what we see in the movies and on TV and they need a lot of power to remain active. Even the best robots out there right now, such as those from Boston Dynamics that can walk and jump in a controlled environment, eat up a lot of power and need very specific conditions to operate, frequent maintenance from human mechanics in order to have the success they're experiencing right now.

    Secondly, and probably more importantly, robots can't think. At least they can't think the way that you or I can. Robots don't want to do anything on their own, they only follow their programming. A robot might be programmed to walk back and forth between two points in a room, but if something unusual happens during that walk, the robot will only notice it if it was programmed to do so. Robots don't have any wants or desires of their own, and likely won't for quite some time - if they ever develop such a capability.

    But, for the sake of the argument, let's say some evil mastermind decides to build an army of robots to take over the world. They'd need to be really really good at both programming and at hardware - and they'd need to not make any mistakes in programming. As a professional software developer, I can tell you that even the smallest pieces of code usually have a lot of errors. Additionally, getting things to behave in the way you want is a really hard problem. The enemies you fight in video games take a lot of work, and a lot of what they do that appears intelligent really isn't and is only due to a clever programmer arranging the game environment in such a way to make the enemy look smart.

    So, Zenia, I think that for the next twenty years or so at least we're fairly safe from armies of evil robots taking over the world, or wanting to, built you never know what someone will invent and what possibilities will open up because of that. However, by the time they invent something like that, you'll be old enough to make a difference in stopping such an uprising if you wanted to.

    I hope this answers your question! Keep being curious.

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