Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What Could Go Wrong?

The Danish company Universal Robots has developed a new, smaller and more precise-handling robotic arm to add to its line of products. The company has been making and selling larger versions of the arm -- whose actions can be directed from an ordinary tablet -- but this one is apparently capable of some very fine-tuned tasks.

Including building copies of itself.

On the one hand, this could mean that when some computer somewhere someday becomes self-aware, it will take over the UR3 and build itself a mobile shell to house its malignant metal intelligence and send Arnold Schwarzenegger back into the past to wear sunglasses at night and kill Linda Hamilton. Or it could mean that when scientists develop a new version of the arm, the old version will be required to build its own replacement before being shipped off to the junkyard in a poignant moment made all the sadder because it cannot cry for itself.

I mean, I watch movies. I read books. I know something like this is going to happen, unless the thing gets in cahoots with the Large Hadron Collider, in which case we're all doomed.

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