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Should IoT grow a conscious?

by Larry Bellehumeur   |  Oct 23, 2018  

Hello and thanks for reading.

For a relatively new technology, IoT sure has done a great job in creating (or increasing) controversy.  Its ability to gather information in new ways has enabled many key technology breakthroughs that have helped society.  Along the way, it has also played a role in helping to enable technologies that are among the most polarizing out there, including:

  • Self-driving cars
  • Automation
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Drones

Now, it is helping to increase the likelihood of making killer robots come true.  So, should IoT “grow a conscious?”

When most people think of robots with weapons, movies like RoboCop may come to mind.  However, many of the moves in this space have been instead focusing on the military as a way to replace front line soldiers.  This is not the first time that we have seen different forms of automation in the military … one only has to look at the rapid growth in the use of drones to see this.  However, those devices have always been acting with the guidance of a human … many planned devices can act completely on their own.

This movement has started many campaigns, including the “Campaign to Stop Killer Robots” comprised of many different groups including technology experts and human rights groups.  In addition to the lack of rules of engagement, there is also another factor to consider.

Can we control these devices if they decide they do not want to be controlled?

This is the fear of many smart people, including the late Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk.  If we enable these devices to work on their own, they may not be bound to our rules and negotiated treaties.  One only has to watch one of the Terminator movies to get a visual of what that may look like.

In the end, we are not quite at that stage yet, but with the rapid rise of AI, we need to start having these conversations now.