Why Are Robots Scary?

Do humanoid robots creep you out? Have you lost sleep at night thinking about a future where robots take your job at the warehouse? Do you nervously watch the Roomba prowl through your home, ready to grab your go-bag in case things turn south? You’re not alone. According to a survey from Oxford University, almost half of Americans believe high-level machine intelligence will have a negative impact on humanity. Why are robots scary? Here are a few answers to the question.

The uncanny valley

Robots like Sophia and Hiroshi Ishiguro’s doppelganger look like humans – kind of. If you ever met a human that looked like one of these humanoid robots, you’d turn and walk the other way, or at the very least try not to stare. They look similar to a real human being, but they are very clearly not human.

Their movements are a little too un-human. Their facial expressions are just there for show; there’s no happiness behind the smile and no confusion behind the furrowed brow. The eyes are a little too lifeless.

It’s this closeness to human appearance that puts the robots in the uncanny valley. Things occupying the uncanny valley — clowns, dolls, and humanoid robots — trigger feelings of repulsion and fear.

Threat of job loss

Automation does threaten job security. So far, automation has displaced workers rather than killed jobs, but it’s not certain whether this will be the case as technology improves. If the low skill jobs continue to be automated, we will eventually get to the point where only the highly trained and educated will have jobs, right? This is the source of the fear, any way.

Science fiction

Film, television, and literature provide an endless source of robot fear and paranoia. We see post-apocalyptic worlds where robots rule and humans serve. Some view these fictional tales of robot uprising as a warning that mankind must heed, while others view these stories as the telling of an inevitability.

The common thread in many of these stories is that robots will eventually break their tether. We will create a technology that is uncontrollable.

We need robots

Humanoid robots might rattle us on a psychological level, automation is disrupting the way that we work, and maybe we need to put safeguards in place with artificial intelligence. Robots are indispensable to our modern way of living, however. Instead of being afraid of robots, we must learn to use factory machines, automated systems, and artificial intelligence to our best advantage.

If you own an Indramat system, you know how important robots are. Make sure that your factory machines continue working the way they’re supposed to work. Call 479-422-0390 for repair, maintenance, and inspection for your Indramat servos, controls, and drives.