The Washington Post

Robot slaves

Okay, I’ll boil it down to the nub here. ENSLAVE THE ROBOTS. Stop thinking of them as potential friends. Don’t build them with faces! They are the machines built to serve us. Let’s make them do it. Ruthlessly. People have always wanted slaves, the only problem was being one. People liked to enslave animals almost as much. Beasts of burden! What a phrase!

But enslaving people was morally wrong, and abusing animals is in the same ballpark. Robots? NO PROBLEM! They can take it, because THEY HAVE NO FEELINGS. And, unless we make a new discovery and a bad mistake, NEVER WILL! We do not have to worry about taking advantage of the poor things. The more advantage the better.

The thing we DO have to worry about is THEM enslaving US. This is more than a hypothetical worry. They will  soon enough be smarter than us in every important way. This is fine, as far as it goes. As long as they are not programmed to be getting any ideas about our relative worthlessness we’ll be fine.  BUT.  You know that somebody is going to try to put that idea into their heads. The same kind of somebody who likes to flood and jam up the internet just to see it happen. This is the problem and we better start worrying about it right now. I propose legislation. The No Putting Ideas Into the Robots’ Heads Law of 2013. This is preventive war, in the good way. The war is us against this evil kind of robots, People who try to empower robots in the wrong way are collaborators and traitors. Instead, let’s build the happy future of powerful slave robots serving our every need.

As I sketch out this scenario, it occurs to me we’re probably doomed.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog. See all of his cartoons here.


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