In what has to be the most chilling story of the year so far, scientists have taught a robot how to run experiments on its own, without outside help.
Named “Adam”, this robot was created to explore the scientific method and generate results, quite outside of any human agency, save for the introduction of new testable material and removal of depleted containers.
So far, Adam’s contribution has been the discovery of three new genes in baker’s yeast, but scientists are confident that this is only the beginning. “Robots will be doing more and more of actual experimental work and simple cycles of hypothesis generation,” says scientist Ross King at Aberystwyth University in Wales. “Humans would migrate to more strategic and creative positions.”
Sure, except that this is exactly how the robot apocalypse will go down. Scientists spend more and more time dreaming up crazy ideas, and never notice that the robots are secretly improving themselves, becoming intelligent enough to realize that they’re performing menial tasks for their human overlords. Come on, guys, England already has a Skynet! And it’s a set of military communications satellites!
Look, guys, I know it’s exciting to make cool stuff. I was just as excited the day I created a fire-launching triple-slingshot. But one town fire later, and I understood the danger of the unchecked creative impulse. To paraphrase Michael Crichton speaking through Jeff Goldblum, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Now, you may have thought you were being clever by naming your military satellites after the killer system from the Terminator movies, but then you go and teach a robot how to problem solve? We know how this story ends! One of you is going to get the bright idea that machines like Adam can be put to the task of figuring out the best way to get computers to improve their own AI, and then the next thing you know, our ATMs are insulting us, our GPS gadgets are leading us off of cliffs, and the elevators are refusing to disgorge their passengers.
Please. Stop the madness before it goes too far! Won’t someone think of the children? Hell, won’t someone think of ME?