Robots to take over human life ‘possible and scary’

November 6, 2017 2:31 pm

Sophia, the humanoid robot

Robots are taking over the world, move over human species!

Could the Sci-Fi movies we see featuring The Terminator, The Matrix, RoboCop, Transformers and many other popular titles, become reality?

Many experts are genuinely worried that the world is coming to this and of all the countries in the world promoting this most probable eventuality is Saudi!

The kingdom is the first country to grant citizenship to Sophia, a robot, in a historic breakthrough that took place during a technological summit held in Riyadh last October 25, 2017.

The passport carrying Sophia, created by Hanson Robotics, is designed to look like Audrey Hepburn and possesses advanced Artificial Intelligence. According to Smithsonian.com, a smart news platform, Sophia can have conversations, tell jokes and pull an interesting array of facial expressions.

But is there anything funny about the coming ROBO era?

Read: Global digital transformation economy will cross $2trn in 2019

 Major threat

Elon Musk, Founder, CEO and Lead Designer at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), says that this is very possible and scary.

Fortune business business magazine quoted Musk in July 2017 as describing Artificial Intelligence as “the greatest risk we face as a civilization” and called for swift government intervention to oversee the technology’s development.

“On the Artificial Intelligence front, I have access to the very most cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” he was quoted as saying.

“AI’s a rare case where we need to be proactive in regulation, instead of reactive. Because by the time we are reactive with AI regulation, it’s too late,” he remarked.

Moreover, CNBC quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying that whoever reached a breakthrough in developing Artificial Intelligence would come to dominate the world.

He even warned that the one who became the leader in this sphere would be the ruler of the world.

A study by the World Economic Forum reveals that experts expect AI to outperform humans during the next decade in tasks, such as translating languages (by 2024), writing high-school essays (by 2026) and driving a truck (by 2027).

Read: UAE consumers have high appetite for AI: study

As for the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, it predicts that five million jobs will be lost by 2020 as AI, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human workers.

Express.co.uk, a British news websites, quotes Cosmologist Max Tegmark as saying that the world has barely more than 30 years to address the possibility of humans being replaced by superhuman machines.

He said: “I think we have very little time to stave off this stupid arms race right now, basically glorified drones that make their own kill decisions. We might have a matter of decades to deal with the question of superhuman machines, which might sound like a very long time but it might take 30 years to get answers to AI safety research questions.”

The International Data Corporation (IDC), global advisory services provider, expects worldwide robotics spending to accelerate and reach $231 billion in 2021.

But how much is the Middle East and Africa region spending on this technology?

Read: Can Artificial Intelligence make governments more efficient?

AI and the Middle East

IDC shows that spending on cognitive and AI systems in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) will grow an impressive 31.8 per cent this year.

“The region’s investment in this space will total $37.49 million for 2017, with the market tipped to reach $114.220m in 2021, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32 per cent for the 2016-2021 period,” it said.

The use of cognitive/AI systems will witness a significant growth across all industries, although IDC’s research suggests that the biggest opportunity lies in the financial sector, in which an estimated $28.32m will be spent on cognitive/AI solutions in 2021, accounting for a quarter of overall spending.

“Of all the countries in the MEA region, the UAE is clearly a pioneer when it comes to the use of cognitive/AI systems,” says Megha Kumar, IDC’s research director for software in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

“Cementing this position, the country’s government recently launched the ‘UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence’, which aims to provide a comprehensive framework for the use of AI across various different sectors and services,” she continued.

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By Dana Halawi
Senior Journalist
Dana Halawi has over seven years of experience in Journalism with articles published in multiple magazines and a newspaper in Lebanon. She specialized in Banking and Finance at the Lebanese American University and has a Master’s degree in International Affairs.



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