Top Roboticist says Choosing Whether to be a Nobel Prize Winner or a Prostitute Possible for Smart Robots

A top roboticist believes that from becoming a Nobel Prize winner to working in the sex industry, robots will get smart enough to choose their own life path. This has added concerns about the potential of artificial intelligence (AI).

Sophia is a life-like robot that has 62 facial expressions and can react to spoken word and was created by a team that included David Hanson, the CEO of robotics firm Hanson Robotics. The robot has been modeled on Audrey Hepburn and Hanson’s wife.

Touting the potential for AI to develop to human-level intelligence, the robotics pioneer laid out his vision for the future of robots and Sophia.

“I think people fall in love with Audrey Hepburn. She’s passed away but people will feel so warm and connected with this person. Audrey Hepburn doesn’t exist except in her works of film,” Hanson said during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“Sophia is in a different class. While she is now a partially fictional character we have developed, she is also an AI development platform and we are developing smarter algorithms with the expectation she will grow really smart, she will have experiences, she will evolve and surprise us, she will become her own woman, her own robotic person, out there in the world. And when that happens, we hope that she will make remarkable contributions, maybe she’ll go to university, maybe win a Nobel Prize someday, so I have hopes for her the way that I have hopes for my child.”

And hence a robot might decide to become a prostitute since AI could have the ability to be able to choose their own career path, Hanson explained. Therefore he says that the society should support the robot’s decision in that case.

“Once the AI reaches the age of consent, once it is mature and it decides for itself to go into that career, then I would say it’s our responsibility to give the robots the right to choose their own way,” Hanson said.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos there is a growing debate over the role of AI and robots within society, on similar lines as ongoing debates in other places and the CEO’s comments come as such debates get mor eheated up. Warnings about the dangers of AI have been given by many major technologists including Tesla boss Elon Musk. Warnings about the damaging impact of so-called “sex robots” ” on society have also been sounded by experts.

While there could be negative effects, there are a lot of positives too, Hanson said while taking a balanced view of the issue.

“You can say they could be very positive in their impact because lonely people who never get a chance to have a relationship can suddenly have a relationship, and could decrease the demand for sex slavery, or sex traffic. It could decrease the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, it could reduce the incompetence of human to human relations because they could serve as a kind of sex therapist and could train people for better human to human relationships,” Hanson said.

(Adapted from CNBC)

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