Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Human-Robot Relations: Why We Shouldn't Fear Intelligent Bots

human and robot hands 

Humans are increasingly exposed to robots in their daily lives. 

WASHINGTON — Some people envision a grim future in which machine intelligence exceeds that of humans, and "Terminator"-style robots take over the world. But robotic technologies don't have to evolve at the expense of humans, one expert says. 

"The purpose of technology is to enable human ability," Cori Lathan, founder and CEO of Maryland engineering firm AnthroTronix, told an audience here at a two-day conference hosted by Smithsonian Magazine, called the "Future is Here," celebrating science fiction, outer space and the technologies of tomorrow.

From the International Space Station to the operating room, technology has enabled humans to achieve some amazing feats, but human-machine interaction should also enable cognitive and emotional abilities, Lathan said. [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures

“What will technology allow us to do in the future, or what will it force us to do?” Lathan said. She foresees positive developments. "I’m a techno-optimist."

Lathan grew up as a so-called maker, creating robots for children with cerebral palsy. Then came a spurt of advances in consumer electronics. Lathan started developing robots that could engage with kids with autism.

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