Robots: Friend Or Foe?

Dog Star Books, the excellent publisher of my novel Wasteland Blues, is hosting a feature called Tech Tuesday, in which they invite authors to write about how technology influences their writing.

I submitted an entry that Dog Star posted at the end of August. You can find it here. My subject is whether the increasing sophistication of robots will become a boon or a bane for humanity. The subject was on my mind because of an editorial in the New York Times promoting the use of robots for people who need long-term care.

I’m of two minds about the potential role that robots could play in our society. My sci-fi mind would love to have smart, independent robots (think C3P0 or R2 D2) around to do chores or be an interesting companion. At the same time, robots and more advanced computers displace human workers, which is troubling. And of course we can thank science fiction for numerous examples of robots or intelligent machines gone bad (HAL 9000) or used as a tool of oppression and control (Terminator, the hulking police robots from Robocop).

Are you eagerly awaiting the rise of the machines, or will robots and super-intelligent machines end up taking over? I’d love to hear your most optimistic and most bleak scenarios.



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