The Robots Are Taking Over


Circa 2004, a bunch of scientists got together and held a conference to determine the greatest threats to humankind. Takeover by robots was #2 on their list.*

I *love* robots. I'm also more than a little freaked out by them.

An article in today's New York Times, "Mars Rover Disoriented Somewhat After Glitch," reveals a new step toward robot consciousness and an entirely different relationship between humans and robots.

Even my rotund and pushy little Roomba conjures a hint of sentience as it algorithmically roves my floor. We are beginning to perceive robots as entities rather than objects, and our descriptions of their behavior are following suit.

The Times reports that the Mars Rover, whose name is Spirit, "behaved oddly on Sunday...(it) acknowledged receiving its driving directions from Earth, but it did not move...More strangely, the Spirit had no memory of what it had done."

Clearly, Spirit was drunk.

*This is so embarrassing: I have totally searched for this article, more than once (but admittedly, not super-duper hard). I remember, five or so years ago, thinking, "I'll probably wish I had a copy of this article in the future... Nah!" As a researcher, I feel like I should be able to find it. And I will. And I will post it here.