Welcome to the section of my site dedicated to the area of robotics. If you didn’t know, robotics is the field of science that deals with autonomous machines. In other words, machines that can do some or all of their job on their own.
Usually this means that a robot is programmable, but thanks to advances in artificial intelligence some modern robots can also learn and react to new situations. For example, if you bought a robot vacuum cleaner today it would spend some time learning the unique dimensions of your room and where all the furniture is.
Older generations of robot would have to be programmed explicitly for every step of the process.
Why Do Transhumanists Care About Robots?
This is actually a very good question. Since Transhumanists mainly care about transcending their own human limitations and augmenting themselves in various ways, why would they have a special interest in robotics? The answer is that although robots don’t help us move beyond humanity directly, they are set to be a major factor in almost every aspect of Transhumanist desires.
For one thing, robots are key to transforming our world economy from a scarcity-based one. I’ve written about the post-scarcity economy elsewhere on this site, but basically it means that the supply of economic goods becomes so cheap and abundant that the cost to have any of it is so close to zero that it makes no difference.
Robots are replacing more and more manual human labor every year. For the people who are being replaced this is of course a bad thing, but for society and the economy in general there are many benefits to be had.
Free to be Me
The ultimate effect of high levels of automation is that human beings will not have to work very much, or at least they will only have to work if they want to. Generally only on things that interest them.
Robots may give us the opportunity to more fully explore our humanity in terms of art and culture. We may also see more people spend time on the quest to further our knowledge. Science may finally get the time and resources it really deserves in a world with near full automation.
Reaching for the Stars
It’s not just the daily grind that so many of us are stuck with that robots may help relieve. Having a tireless workforce at hand also means that humanity may be able to tackle engineering jobs that were simply too expensive before.
If we ever want to achieve things like terraforming Mars or building large structures in space, robots are really the only way to do it. Since they can work in conditions humans literally cannot survive in it means they help us transcend our limitations in a very real way. At least in this context.
A Plastic Pal Who’s Fun to Be With
That title is actually a line from Douglas Adams’ book series “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. It refers to a ship’s robot named Marvin. It’s ironic because Marvin was one of the most depressing characters ever written in fiction. His massive intelligence meant that he saw little point in anything and he would just sulk all the time.
In the real world robots are taking on more and more social roles. In Japan, which is notoriously pro-robot) there’s a preference for robots rather than immigrants and so you’ll find robots taking care of that country’s growing elderly population.
Household robots (humanoid or otherwise) are set to move out of the factories and into our homes. Becoming our companions in many walks of life. So it might be a good idea to brush up on out incoming new friends while you have some time!
What’s in This Section
In this section you’ll find articles that point out some of the most interesting modern day robots and quite a lot of what the future of robotics holds for humanity. There are also topics that discuss some of the remaining problems that have to be solved in the world of robots before they can become a totally integral part of our everyday lives.
If you have any interested in our new metal mates, this is the section for you!