Building soldiers or re-creating the human being?

The term robot was coined by the Czech writer Karel Capek. It first appeared in a novel called 'RUR' (Rossum's Universal Robots, 1920). In Czech, 'robota' means 'work,' with emphasis on the fact that it is involuntary, i.e., forced, dependent work. In Polish, worker is translated as 'robotnik'.

Building soldiers or re-creating the human being
Building soldiers or re-creating the human being?

A robot is an automatic system capable of replacing humans in complex operations, based on sensory and kinetic interaction with the environment. This last clarification is necessary to distinguish it from the desktop computer. However, the definition needs to be further enriched and qualified because, as it stands, it runs the risk of including vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers in the robot category. While 'automaton' and 'machine' are ancient terms, the term 'robot' is more recent, originating in science fiction literature rather than in the technological real world.

Where does the word 'robot' come from?

The term robot was coined by the Czech writer Karel Capek. It first appeared in a novel called 'RUR' (Rossum's Universal Robots, 1920).  In Czech, 'robota' means 'work,' with emphasis on the fact that it is involuntary, i.e., forced, dependent work. In Polish, worker is translated as 'robotnik'.

Robot soldiers and AI

An elastic, flexible and adaptive object is the hardware, the processor, the machine itself. But let's think about robotic weapons. A commander would like to have at his disposal a multifunctional machine, rather than a single-function machine. That is, a machine that can detect, patrol, dismantle camps, fight, assist the wounded, transport materials, and so on. Versatility is still an advantage for the human soldier over today's hyper-specialized robot soldier. However, because robots can do things that are too difficult, dangerous, dirty and sometimes impossible for humans, they are highly valued in warfare. Moreover, all indications are that future development of robots will go in the direction of greater versatility. This has been the case with computers.

Robotics engineer Hans Moravec explains

"Serious attempts to build thinking machines began after World War II. One line of research, called cybernetics, used simple electronic circuits to mimic small nervous systems and produced machines that could learn simple patterns and turtle-shaped robots that patterns and turtle-shaped robots that could find their way to power outlets and recharge themselves.
A very different approach, called artificial intelligence (AI), sought to harness the seemingly the seemingly prodigious power of postwar computers-capable of doing the work of thousands of mathematicians to more interesting kinds of thinking. Indeed, by 1965, computers were running programs that proved theorems in logic and geometry, solved calculus problems, and played checkers well.  By the early 1970s, some AI researchers at MIT and Stanford University were attaching video cameras and robotic arms to their computers so that their 'thinking' programs could begin to gather information directly from the real world." [here]

Building the Machine to Rebuild Man?

But things were not exactly in line with the American scientists' hopes, "It was shocking! While pure reasoning programs worked as well and as fast as a college freshman, the best robot control program would take hours to find and grab a few bricks on a table. Often, these robots would fail completely, with performance far below that of a six-month-old child."
According to Moravec, the best approach to solving these technical problems is not the top-down, top-to-bottom, mind-to-body approach of artificial intelligence, but the bottom-up approach that follows the steps of biological evolution and which, according to Moravec, is the approach of 'robotics' itself. It involves first studying living things and their evolution, and then reconstructing them piece by piece with non-organic devices.
Is this not one of the high points of the transhumanist movement?


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