Afraid of Intelligent Machines?

Posted 20 Apr 2007 at 15:27 UTC by Rog-a-matic Share This

Recent informal 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 themselves, in spite of messages from movies and other pop-culture sources. A discussion related to this topic was spawned by the killings at VA Tech.

fear of technology vs fear of humans, posted 20 Apr 2007 at 16:59 UTC by steve » (Master)

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 same 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.

Response from Poll author, posted 20 Apr 2007 at 17:13 UTC by Rog-a-matic » (Master)

Hey Roger, I\'m Hrafn, the author of the Robot-fear poll and owner of Inkblot Earth. As I\'m an avid reader of 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.

Best regards, -Hrafn Th.

Controlling minds, posted 21 Apr 2007 at 14:59 UTC by motters » (Master)

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.

paranoia, posted 24 Apr 2007 at 12:44 UTC by c6jones720 » (Master)

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.

Guns don't kill people, robots kill people...., posted 28 Apr 2007 at 01:45 UTC by TheDuck » (Journeyer)

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?

See more of the latest robot news!

Recent blogs

30 Sep 2017 evilrobots (Observer)
10 Jun 2017 wedesoft (Master)
9 Jun 2017 mwaibel (Master)
25 May 2017 AI4U (Observer)
25 Feb 2017 steve (Master)
16 Aug 2016 Flanneltron (Journeyer)
27 Jun 2016 Petar.Kormushev (Master)
2 May 2016 motters (Master)
10 Sep 2015 svo (Master)
14 Nov 2014 Sergey Popov (Apprentice)
Share this page