Thursday, November 29, 2012

BBC: "Risk of robot uprising wiping out human race to be studied"

Studies, where would we be without 'em?
From the Beeb:
The Terminator robot  
In The Terminator, the machines start to turn on the humans
Cambridge researchers are to assess whether technology could end up destroying human civilisation.
The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) will study dangers posed by biotechnology, artificial life, nanotechnology and climate change.

The scientists said that to dismiss concerns of a potential robot uprising would be "dangerous".
Fears that machines may take over have been central to the plot of some of the most popular science fiction films.

Perhaps most famous is Skynet, a rogue computer system depicted in the Terminator films.
Skynet gained self-awareness and fought back after first being developed by the US military.
'Reasonable prediction' 
But despite being the subject of far-fetched fantasy, researchers said the concept of machines outsmarting us demanded mature attention.

"The seriousness of these risks is difficult to assess, but that in itself seems a cause for concern, given how much is at stake," the researchers wrote on a website set up for the centre....MORE
One of the co-founders of the project is Martin Rees who is a bit of a Gloomy Gus.
On the other hand he's also the Astronomer Royal and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, President of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010 and he accepted the £1m Templeton Prize which goes to people who make "exceptional contributions to affirming life's spiritual dimension".