Finally, an Internet for Robots

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RoboEarth, a world wide web designed specifically for robots, has been introduced at Eindhoven University. The idea behind RoboEarth is that most robots are designed for one purpose and this network will allow robots to learn from one another.

The recent movie Her dealt with similar themes, introducing the idea of whether or not an artificial intelligence operating system could learn to love (and whether a human could love her in return). While RoboEarth is concerned with more practical matters, it is interesting to think about where this technology could lead. A more troubling and pessimistic view on the trouble with artificial intelligence was encompassed in the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which depicted machines becoming self-aware, determined to destroy humanity.

The RoboEarth system allows for robots’ computing and thinking tasks to be offloaded, enabling that information to exist in the cloud, rather than within the robot’s computing space directly. It is believed that robot assistants will be available in homes within 10 years, though robots that vacuum homes and do other remedial tasks are already available.

The gift and curse of such a robot assistant is that in many cases their prevalence could lead to situations where robots are helping the elderly with tasks that were previously addressed by relatives. While this could save time for people, it also has the potential to lead to fewer family interactions and will also be detrimental to the general workforce. Many of the lowest-paid workers in America are home health aides and many such employees lack alternative skills needed to join the workforce in another capacity if their jobs are replaced by robots. 




Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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