Monday, 18 February 2019

Predictions - The impact on society of animal-like machines

Finally, what will be the impact on society of animal-like machines? Let's make a few predictions that I will later look back and laugh at.

First, family robots may be permanently connected to wireless family intranets, sharing information with those who you want to know where you are. You may never need to worry if your loved ones are alright when they are late or far away, because you will be permanently connected to them. Crime may get difficult if all family homes are full of half-aware, loyal family machines. In the future, we may never be entirely alone, and if the controls are in the hands of our loved ones rather than the state, that may not be such a bad thing. 

Slightly further ahead, if some of the intelligence of the horse can be put back into the automobile, thousands of lives could be saved, as cars become nervous of their drunk owners, and refuse to get into positions where they would crash at high speed. We may look back in amazement at the carnage tolerated in this age, when every western country had road deaths equivalent to a long, slow-burning war. In the future, drunks will be able to use cars, which will take them home like loyal horses. And not just drunks, but children, the old and infirm, the blind, all will be empowered. 

Eventually, if cars were all (wireless) networked, and humans stopped driving altogether, we might scrap the vast amount of clutter all over our road system - signposts, markings, traffic lights, roundabouts, central reservations - and return our roads to a soft, sparse, eighteenth-century look. All the information - negotiation with other cars, traffic and route updates - would come over the network invisibly. And our towns and countryside would look so much sparser and more peaceful.

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