Will you please marry me, AI?

November 28, 2017 2:27 pm

 Surely by now, your idea of robots is no longer stuck on machines you might see in for example car manufacturing.

 Surely you know there are humanoids already replacing people in jobs like broadcasters and police officers, hospitality personnel, nurses and even nannies.

We’re putting our faith in the AI that we design and create to make our lives easier, but are humanoids really our friends?

Read: Robots to take over human life ‘possible and scary’

Robo Romance

According to robot mastermind David Hanson, CEO and founder of Hanson Robotics, robots would be able to work with humans in factories, customer service and medicine but would also become our friends, leading to the inevitable robot-human romance.

Hanson acknowledged there were fears over what the future could hold.

“There’s reasonable speculation that if we don’t build machines that really care, they’ll have motives of their own,” he said, adding that it was important to openly discuss how to develop AI that is “inherently safe and good and caring”.

Forbes recently said that as robots gain greater “social” abilities, we humans will form relationships with our robot helpers.

“We may even come to feel as though they are our friends,” it said.

Plans we have for AI

A study on children with autism, as early as 2009, found that robotic systems can encourage basic communication and social interaction skills in them.

The study used a minimally expressive humanoid robot KASPAR, who assumed the role of a social mediator – encouraging children with low functioning autism to interact with the robot, to break their isolation and importantly, to facilitate interaction with other people.

The robot served as a salient object mediating and encouraging interaction between the children and co-present adults.

Read: The drive for streaming live- Which social media is winning?

In Dubai, Touchscreen robots can save your crime reports in many languages and share it to a database that sparks an immediate an investigation, not to mention pay your traffic bills.

Real robocops are already serving and patrolling but not yet protecting though this might change soon as there are plans for the machines to make up 25 per cent of the police force by 2030.

Brigadier Abdullah Bin Sultan, Director of the Future Shaping Centre of Dubai Police, said: “We are looking to have more robots in future to handle policing. We planned for a security system for the future of the city to tackle future crimes. By 2025, Dubai will be one of the best five cities in the world on security level.”

Read: Now we know what Richard Branson knew about Saudi but didn’t tell us

Looks like Robocop movie makers got their wish.

And recently, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) announced the recruitment of five robots as staff at its Customer Happiness Centres.

The Future Centre for Customer Happiness is the first integrated smart customer happiness centre in Dubai, which relies on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics, and provides smart and innovative services to all customers.

And let’s not forget when Saudi Arabia also granted Sophia the humanoid robot with robot citizenship ahead of the Future Investment Initiative conference, an honor that many people covet but are unable to get.

Read: No gas stations in sight? No problem. Rent this car

AI has plans for us

According to Phys.org, a non-profit scientific platform, last July witnessed the preamble of what humanity would face, from the point of view of AI.

Two lifelike humanoids (one of them was Sophia who earned her Saudi passport) discussed the pros and cons of humans in front of a wowed audience in Hong Kong.

It wasn’t Chinese to anyone on that night that humanoids are able to exchange banter and make predictions about life in the universe, science fiction and reality TV shows.

“While chief scientist Ben Goertzel of Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, which invented the machines, sang their praises, the robots seemed more sceptical of their human peers. When Goertzel asked the duo whether robots could really be moral and ethical, one countered: “Humans are not necessarily the most ethical creatures”, Phys.org recounted the conversation that took place on stage.

Read: Cyber attacks can crash a plane; what airlines don’t want you to know

The robot later pointed out: “In 10 or 20 years, robots will be able to do every human job.”

The machines had been programmed to banter and learn from each other, and had been trained to act like humans from movies and YouTube, said Goertzel.

We just hope they weren’t watching Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”

The humanoids could also connect to wifi to use cloud computing, where they will eventually share a vast amount of knowledge, Goertzel said at the time.

“Robots could be “as smart as people” in as little as three years, he predicted.

Read: Get ready for 294% rise in inflation in 2018, GCC


It said they could be caregivers to older people who need companionship and nursing care, or to patients recovering from surgery and the robodoc might lift your spirits up and actually lift you off the floor to help you exercise or remind you of your medication.

Forbes said that according to Elizabeth Broadbent, associate professor in health psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand,  while people can form some attachment to a personalized voice AI on a digital tablet or computer, the attachment is much stronger when the AI is in a robot with a physical form.

“But human wiring tends to get in the way of overwhelming logic, and you may fall into interacting with a robot as though it were a person,” she told Forbes




Hadi Khatib
By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.