BBC: Robots could 'threaten humanity' be physically stronger than humans "in the next few years", warns scientist

Robots could 'threaten humanity' and will be physically stronger than humans "in the next few years", warns scientist

Experts claim robots could even be classed as an "invasive species" due to their rapid evolution and increased ability to consciously make decisions

BY ADAM POSTANS13:11, 25 JUL 2017UPDATED14:45, 25 JUL 2017

Robots could 'threaten our existence' and even become physically stronger than humans "in the next few years", according to a new documentary.

Experts claim robots could even be classed as an "invasive species" due to the fact they are evolving at such a rapid rate.

And according to a new BBC science documentary into their evolution, technology is advancing to the point of allowing robots to consciously make decisions.

Science experts appearing on the show, Hyper Evolution: Rise of the Robots, claim this poses a far greater threat to humanity than that depicted in movies such as The Terminator.

Dr Ben Garrod, an evolutionary biologist at Anglia Ruskin University, told BBC4's 'Hyper Evolution: Rise of the Robots': "What concerns me is that the impact of robots will be so monumental, they could threaten humanity.

"We've evolved over hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years.

"These things are just bulldozing their way through. At what point have we got to stop? They're like an invasive species.

"In the next few years, physically at least, they will be able to out-compete us in many of the things that we can do.

"But for me, the real problem isn't if they move like us or even look like us. The real issue will come if they start to think like us."

Prof Owen Holland told the programme: "The whole of our society, our law, our education, is based around consciousness, making conscious decisions, and if we show that actually that's quite trivial and we reproduce it in an afternoon in a lab, then it could make you think 'Well, how important is human life? Because it is conscious.'

"Ultimately the rewards will be positive but you have to be very, very careful. Socially it might be disruptive."

Electronics engineer Professor Danielle George who co-hosts the show said: "We are living right at the moment robots start to gradually piece things together, the first tiny scraps of meaning to their own unique understanding of the world and themselves.

"Once they've done this, where it leads to could be astonishing. There's no doubt robots will continue to evolve and become more and more intelligent, and that one day it might be possible for them to develop consciousness.

"The extraordinarily fast evolution of robots really is going to change our place in the world and that raises urgent social issues for all of us. We need to be responsible to make sure that we stay in control.

"We have the opportunity right now to prepare for conscious robots that think and feel in the same way we do, to prepare for what I think is inevitable."

Hyper Evolution: Rise of the Robots is on BBC4 at 9pm on Weds July 26.


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