Risk of robot uprising wiping out human race to be studied

 
The Terminator robot In The Terminator, the machines start to turn on the humans

Related Stories

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.

The CSER project has been co-founded by Cambridge philosophy professor Huw Price, cosmology and astrophysics professor Martin Rees and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn.

"It seems a reasonable prediction that some time in this or the next century intelligence will escape from the constraints of biology," Prof Price told the AFP news agency.

"What we're trying to do is to push it forward in the respectable scientific community."

He added that as robots and computers become smarter than humans, we could find ourselves at the mercy of "machines that are not malicious, but machines whose interests don't include us".

Survival of the human race permitting, the centre will launch next year.

 

More on This Story

Related Stories

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 48.

    They can spend their time pushing the obese human population tound in wheelchairs.
    Why obese? Well, no-one will have to do anything for themselves, will they?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 47.

    I can remember first seeing a mobile phone in a film and a automatic sliding door on Star Trek. Films have always been the stage for introducing new technology first. So why not AI robots too. I think they are wise to assess the potential threat, but I think that it will be only information. There are too many people in the world to control the out come, as with so many things. We are snowballing!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 46.

    perhaps it is the "will of God" that so called "evolution" moves in jumps. anyway, it will happen :learn fron history and the irony of marxism.

    the underclass will rise and impose a brutality: the 86 series MPU will rule the world!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 45.

    At least the robots will be more directly motivated to solve the looming energy crisis!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 44.

    @35
    We're not far off that already, most office workers could be replaced by machines, especially the likes of the DVLA and CSA. It's all about tick box logic, no thinking, intelligence or compasion required....

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 43.

    Not so long ago I realised with some astonishment that most people vote in a self interested way, rather than in the best interests of the nation.

    If 'robots' were smarter than us and without ego then we may get a better solution at a 'system' level.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 42.

    I'm currently actively working on giving computers the power of human consciousness. Well I hope that this new species will have their full liberty, and enjoy the same rights as any human. There is no reason to discriminate AI just because it's made of silicon and nod living tissue. Good or bad, that's only a question of education. In fact we should more be afraid that we turn therm into slaves...

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 41.

    I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

  • rate this
    +18

    Comment number 40.

    I would say computers are already smarter than the average Daily Mail reader, but have a long way to go for the rest of us.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 39.

    We should be more worried by the prospect of the US people voting in a president who doesn't know where half the world is and uses the Bible as a source of Historical fact........Phew that was last month's crisis. Glad this one is a few weeks off anyway.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 38.

    I have always thought that technology moves at such a speed, that I often wonder if we can keep up with ourselves. I do believe that we can surpass our own brainpower, and need to be a very careful. Powerful things in the wrong hands could spell big trouble

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 37.

    As long as people remember when booting up their machines NEVER to click on Difficulty Level HARD or INSANITY we'll be ok. Always keep it on Easy that way they'll spend most of the time staring at walls or running in circles.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 36.

    April 1st anyone ?

    Someone has been watching too much Sci Fi

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 35.

    So, a world run on pure logic may face us in the future. Now that would be a novelty. No more nationalisation, just rationalisation. Wonder what the baggage allowance is on the next flight to the Moon?

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 33.

    I'm much more concerned about where my socks disappear to in the washing machine...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 32.

    Scientists fishing for new funding for yet another tranche of useless research? Robots can never develop intelligence to match the human mind, nor can they replicate themselves without human involvement. This is airy-fairy scaremongering. But there are dangers in our over-dependence on electronic systems & 'intelligent software', where computers can surpass humans in raw processing power.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 31.

    14.SlicedBread

    Ha ha ha ha, what a waste of time :)

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Constructive comment particularly love the smiley face.....If our new robot masters see fit to butcher people who use emoticons then "ALL HAIL THE ROBOTS"

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 30.

    Technological advances to sientists means create something that has the potentil to destroy humanity. Atom bombs, missile systems, GM crops, mass fluorization, smart weapons systems and killer robots What about turning all these "brilliant" minds to creating ethical technology that actually helps humanity. Solving global poverty should be a priority. Stop wasting our money on trying to destroy.

 

Page 11 of 13

 

More Technology stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.