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May 6, 2013

Here cometh a new wave after the "Third Wave"-- robotization

Since the Industrial Revolution the global GDP has grown several hundred times larger. There have been big waves: textile industry, construction of railway and advent of the heavy industry, automobiles, discovery of electricity and invention of electric appliances, and finally the IT Revolution, which Alvin and Heidi Tofflers rightly predicted as the "third wave".

Now something new and very fundamental is taking shape, perhaps the "fourth wave". This can be characterized by two things; one is the universal use of "sensors" and the other is the direct utilization of human brain signals.

Today a wide variety of commodities are equipped with various kinds of sensors. For example Japan-made excavators can be halted to work, if a user abroad does not properly pay installments; a simple push on button in Tokyo headquarter sends signal to the sensor via satellite. And the function of the human brains has been explicated so much that an artificial muscle can interpret brain signal and start moving accordingly (see http://www.cyberdyne.jp/english/). Soon artificially created signals can be sent into human brains, and humans will start to think and act in accordance with those signals even against their own "genuine" will.

If the two things above be combined, it will become a formidable tool for a dictator. People's minds will be read by him or her via sensors, and then the dictator can discipline the subjects in their way of thinking and acting through satellites and sensors. The human being becomes like robots of the dictator.

Or in some other way the human being is destined to become a prey of their own intellect; someday robots may take upper hand and start manipulating the humans. It will occur in the following way.
First, robots start to perform many jobs. Within ten years, for example, driving of cars may become entirely automatic, robbing the taxi drivers of their job. Each person will purchase one or two robots for performing physical jobs. A highly intelligent robot will be also made for intellectual jobs, but such robots may well start manipulating their owner and may eventually make the owner a slave---

All this is a cheap reproduction of what Hollywood films periodically warn about, but I cannot help but thinking that the human kind has started to encroach upon the divine territory, surrogating creator's role. We, the human being, absolutely do not deserve it. What we have learned is very limited; we even do not know how it is like inside the earth and on the bottom of the deep seas. Let us keep our efforts to investigate them before our robots prohibit us to do so.


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