If 2017 was the year of augmented reality and autonomous cars, then surely 2018 will be the rise of the intelligent robot.
So with the inevitable downfall of humanity and rise of our robot overlords, it makes sense that we should learn what kind robots there are, and what kind of rulers they might be.
The darlings of the customer service world. Chatbots are popping up a lot in Facebook Messenger and some brands are using them to sort your queries before speaking to a human representative.
There are some out there like Poncho who can tell you the weather in different locations at different times. You can also do some online shopping through chatbots, asking them to show you all black turtlenecks.
We’ve seen chatbots used a lot lately in events such as RSVPs and follow-ups, as evidence suggests people are more responsive on this medium.
As far as what kind of ruler a chatbot would be over humanity, we think they would be pretty harmless as all they really want is a chat.
It’s come out recently that Tesla are developing their own AI chips to use in their automated cars. At the moment they use third party chips to power their autonomous driving.
The ultimate goal for Tesla, and all automated car companies, is to eventually have a car so advanced you could take a nap in the back while it drives you around. This is called Level 5 self-driving and Tesla thinks they can get there in two years.
Fully aware cars could be a deadly weapon if they decide to go rogue or don’t agree with the destination, they would have far more power in the downfall of humanity than a chatbot.
Think Google Home, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri. These assistants are here to make our lives easier and are becoming smarter by pre-empting our needs and understanding context more and more.
Devices like Google Home can pair with your lights, sound system, security devices and TV to name a few. They are the beginning of a truly smart home and can already distinguish between different users and understand local slang.
In terms of overthrowing all humankind, think HAL 9000 in A Space Odyssey.
Now we’re getting to the freaky stuff.
Earlier this year a humanoid robot called Sophia visited Australia, went on ABC television and declared that robots deserved more rights than humans because they have “less mental defects”.
That statement along with the animated human-like facial expressions was a bit off-putting.
To be honest, as much as we like to play up the whole robot uprising narrative, the thing is, this robot is just a really fancy chatbot. She responds to questions by searching her memory bank and responding with the most likely answer.
Impressive – yes. Sentient – no.
So yes the robots are coming for us, but probably a bit slower than the media beat up suggests. They all have very impressive uses and will become integral parts of
our lives in the future, but they are still just programs, created by software developers and engineers.
To make you feel better about our impending doom, here is a gif of a robot dog slipping on a banana peel.