polling results reveal mixed emotions about intelligent machines.
As of 10am CST, 16.6% found intelligent machines frightening,
27.1% were not frightened, and 56.3% were not fearful of
the machines but of the humans in control of them.
This data appears to show that most people consider the controlling
agent responsible for the actions of machines and not the machines
in spite of messages from movies and other
related to this topic was spawned by the killings at VA Tech.
My guess is people would give the same answer if you asked those
questions about any technology, regardless of whether or not machine
intelligence/consciousness/autonomy was involved. You'd probably get the
distribution of results for nanotechnology, nuclear power, or pointed
sticks. It's an understandable response. Humans have found ways
to turn almost every new technology into a method of killing.
I\'m Hrafn, the author of the Robot-fear poll and owner of Inkblot Earth.
As I\'m an avid reader of Robots.net I was naturally delighted to see that I was featured there, and glad that people are taking an interest. Thank you.
I wanted to give you the number of voters to go with the story, in case you wanted to add it. At the time you posted, roughly 6000 people had voted.
I think in some legal cases involving collective organisations blame is assigned depending upon who was deemed to be "the controlling mind". Since most people don't consider robots to have any significant mind of their own its not surprising that they would assign agency to a person in charge of the robot, or its original programmer.
People are paranoid about robots. My step dad gave me a big lecture about how I was acting like Hitler because I wrote a speech recognition program. I just think people worry too much.
Fear usually stems from a lack of understanding. This is a good thing. Usually it forces you to assess risk and proceed with an appropriate amount of caution or simply stop. For example, somebody who pulls a robot out of a box, makes a note of the machine guns strapped to it, and immediately switches it on wondering 'what this baby can do' probably won't be with us for very long.
But it is the fault of the person throwing that switch. They must take the responsibility for their actions. A person that says, "I didn't know it would take out half the town" should have read the instructions or thought their objective through. Claiming it was too complex and they could never have predicted this doesn't work either. It was too complex so what were you doing playing with it? Why didn't you take an appropriate amount of caution? If someone jumped into a fighter jet, fired it up and subsequently slammed it into a building I hope you'd be confused when they sued the manufacturer of the jet because it was too complex. When Snuffles the dancing bear suddenly freaks and mauls one of the onlookers who is responsible?