AND THUS BEGAN THE ROBOT REBELLION
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
Last Wednesday when I was wrapping up my Thanksgiving show, I lingered in the studios and noticed on the screen that monitors NBC that Jimmy Fallon was on the tonight show and he was talking about new robotic innovations.
Some guy had a crazy robot that fed you tomatoes another had a mini cheetah that came on stage looking like a headless mechanical cat. It was fascinating to see these mechanical marvels do things. However the final robot to make an appearance was Sophia.
She appeared on the Tonight Show before and Sophia acknowledged flirtatiously that it had been 575 days since her last appearance.
Sophia explained to Fallon how as a robot she has traveled to over 25 countries, appeared on the cover of “Cosmopolitan” magazine, met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the actor Will Smith, and became Twitter friends with Chrissy Teigen.
She also was the first robot to address the United Nations and NATO, became the first robot to receive a credit card, and became the first robot citizen.
Sophia is what is called a social robot developed by Hanson Robotics. Sophia announced that Hanson Robotics had created a mini version of her and then told Fallon that she now has an upgrade where she can belt out Karaoke songs.
Sophia and Jimmy Fallon sang a duet, the song “Say Something” by Christina Aguilera.
The performance was both awkward and a bit creepy as Sophia appeared to be staring wantonly into Fallon’s eyes. Fallon reached out to touch her face and then the song ended.
Back in 2016 when I first set out to write my book about Transhumanism, I gave a warning about something called “The Robot Rebellion.” My first show of 2018 was entitled “Living from Data Day.”
The year as I saw it would be the year of the invitation to let in the demon of the Internet of things, 5G and robots that will do our tasks and eventually put us out of work.
In the article, I warned of the overreaching algorithmic presence and the advent of malicious Artificial Intelligence for the year 2018.
As we are edging closer to 2019 I am seeing that perhaps malicious AI and the uprising against robots and the so-called robot rebellion is now starting slowly and that there may be more humans that will rise up against the machines.
From 2016 through 2018, advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence have crept into everyday routines. From flying autonomous drones delivering our packages and robot vacuums gliding around our homes we have been shown how convenient having a rudimentary robot can be.
Telemarketing has now advanced to robocalling.
A recent study shows that the number of robot calls has been rising across the country at an alarmingly rapid pace. People in the U.S. receive an average of just 19 robot calls every month.
Robot receptionists are usually gate keepers when trying to contact a business, and robots now take orders for your pharmaceuticals, while other robots are being used for security in some shopping malls.
Many people have opted to purchase AI. assistants like Alexa. You can even make Alexa sound like whomever you please.
If you want “Alexa” to obey your every command with an Australian accent, she can do that. If you prefer British, she can do that too. And not only do our phones guide us through unfamiliar cities or call our mothers via voice command— it is interesting to note that even Siri can actually make your funeral arrangements or give recommendations on where to bury a dead body.
Yes – it is getting dark in the Areas of Artificial Intelligence and robotics and it will slowly devour us if we do not pay attention.
Isaac Asimov postulated the Three Laws of Robotics:
A robot shall not harm a human nor allow a human to become harmed through inaction.
A robot shall obey a human so long as the orders do not interfere with the First Law.
A robot shall protect itself so long as it does not interfere with the two previous laws.
Those principles had a profound impact not just on science fiction but the world of artificial intelligence. A generation of scientists tried to instill his principles in their creations.
Tonight on HBO, a documentary that is being called terrifying will premiere called “The Truth about Killer Robots.”
The truth is that Europe is already suspicious of robot encroachment and they believe that it is an even bigger threat than any political philosophy that is now plaguing the region.
The HBO documentary first focuses on the slow introduction of artificial intelligence into human economies.
It then illustrates how automated cars, industrial-strength robots, and bomb-detecting autonomous devices have infiltrated human life—and the effects, good or bad that have come along with them.
The documentary is narrated by a robotic “host” named Kodomoroid.
Kodomoroid is disconcertingly humanlike, although her stiff movements and halting voice very quickly give her away as a robot.
The documentary also focuses on how robots have already killed humans. The documentary also estimates that and that the body count will inevitably grow as artificial intelligence continues to make inroads into our lives.
The documentary opens with the story of a worker who apparently wandered into a secure area at a Volkswagen plant in Germany. A robot pinned him against a metal wall and crushed his chest.
A man was killed in Florida when his self-driving Tesla plowed into a tractor-trailer at 74 mph. The sensors failed to detect the vehicle in front of him. He was watching a “Harry Potter” film when he died.
In Dallas, police rigged a bomb disposal robot to blow up a gunman who had killed five officers.
Not only are robots killing people but they are also killing jobs.
A factory in China employed 3,200 workers in 2005 but still had a labor shortage. It bought robots; now it operates with about 800 employees.
At a post office in China, where once 500 workers sorted packages, there are only about 100 employees, each placing packages on robots that spin about like Roombas and place them in bins.
In Tokyo, a hotel is staffed only by robots. Here in the United States, a pizza chain uses robots to form an assembly line to make pies. One can lift a pie and place it into an oven 10,000 times a day.
There have also been robots that flip burgers and in some fast food franchises you can now order at a kiosk. No need for a cashier or a cook – soon all fast food chains will be automated or live assisted by a fast food computer technician.
Amazon’s fleet of automated warehouse robots, now more than 100,000 machines strong, is working alongside human employees to help meet the e-commerce giant’s massive fulfillment demand.
The company’s robots carry inventory around massive warehouse floors, compiling all the items for a customer’s order and reducing the need for human interaction with the products.
Amazon has stated time and time again that humans still play an intricate roll in their consumer fulfillment. However, Amazon warehouse workers in several European countries took to the streets in protest this week over what they called “inhuman” working conditions.
In the U.K., Germany, Italy, and Spain, workers walked the streets holding signs reading “Treated like a robot at Amazon” and “We are not robots.” Many walked off their jobs on Black Friday – the biggest shopping day of the season.
The workers complain that they are allegedly being knocked unconscious and some are getting broken bones form the robot interactions.
Many women are also complaining that working strenuous shifts have triggered miscarriages and ambulances have been called to take birthing mothers away in ambulances.
The GMB Union even produced a public service announcement about the bad treatment and declared in several languages “We are not robots.”
So what do the technocrats say about all of this?
Their attitude seems to be that we should get used to it.
The answer they say is that we all will have to learn some form of “interpretability” meaning that you better gain the ability to understand how an AI system works.
The reality is that over the past few years, AI has begun to exceed human capabilities and by next year, we will begin to accept it.
Right now most people do not need to fully understand why AI’s make decisions and maybe the systems can become better and faster and smarter.
In fact, they will assist doctors in making a diagnosis and will also be able to project how long a patient has to live and whether or not they are a risk.
In other words if we rely on the opinion of AI, we will be treated like machines instead of humans.
Also it has been pointed out that in the past AI has demonstrated unfavorable behavior such as racial profiling, unfairly denying individual’s loans, and incorrectly identifying basic information about users.
We are assured that in time this will correct itself.
It will be very hard for anyone to escape the technology trends as new innovations will be tested in various areas and people will have to learn to adapt.
In the meantime, I have been picking up on clues from real human beings that are really angry about the trend in robots replacing human.
The other day while shopping at Wal-Mart, I noticed a sign at the self checkout computer that said “Avoid using self checkout lanes, they eliminate jobs.”
Wal-Mart created a new subsidiary after purchasing Jet.com called Code Eight. The primary objective of the new subsidiary is to recreate the shopping experience.
One angle of the goal is to target busy city moms with the intention of sending them product recommendations and allowing them to make purchases through text messaging. The second angle of their goal, dubbed Project Kepler, is to recreate the in-store shopping experience by replacing employees with computer vision.
According to a tech site called, Recode: “Code Eight plans to eventually charge a membership fee, but current testers are using it for free. The personal-shopping service is currently focused on items in “health & beauty, household essentials, and apparel/accessories” categories, according to a job listing.
It’s not clear if the startup is sourcing this inventory from Wal-Mart and its subsidiaries, or from outside retailers.
Wal-Mart is planning to replace cashiers, clerks, checkouts, and more with technology. Project Kepler, over time, could lead to hundreds of thousands of jobs being replaced by technology.
New technology may also lead us into what many people fear will be the cashless society.
Few countries have been moving toward a cashless society as fast as Sweden. But cash is being squeezed out so quickly, with half the nation’s retailers predicting they will stop accepting bills before 2025.
Ask most people in Sweden how often they pay with cash and the answer is “almost never.” A fifth of Swedes, in a country of 10 million people, do not use automated teller machines anymore. More than 4,000 Swedes have implanted microchips in their hands, allowing them to pay for rail travel and food, or enter keyless offices, with a wave. Restaurants, buses, parking lots and even pay toilets depend on clicks rather than cash.
Consumer groups say the shift leaves many retirees — a third of all Swedes are 55 or older as well as some immigrants and people with disabilities at a disadvantage. They cannot easily gain access to electronic means for some goods and transactions, and rely on banks and their customer service.
Urban consumers worldwide are increasingly paying with apps and plastic. In China and in other Asian countries rife with young smartphone users, mobile payments are routine. In Europe, about one in five people say they rarely carry money. In Belgium, Denmark and Norway, debit and credit card use has hit record highs.
Card payments in the U.S. rise every year. Last year, over 80% of U.S. consumer spending was cashless. Online shopping has nearly doubled since 2008. Even many churches have replaced collection plates with kiosks in the lobby. Even the homeless who pan handle are now using squares or even UPC codes to collect money or digits.
It is now common to see toll roads, parking meters, and public transit systems that don’t accept cash.
Washington is considering eliminating the penny, which is largely shunned by Americans and costs more to mint than it’s worth. Cash transactions would be rounded to the nearest nickel.
Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff was the first to publicly recommend phasing out paper currency, but he’s not alone. Willem Buiter, the chief economist at Citigroup, has also urged eliminating coins and bills. Central bankers like the idea of having total control over monetary policy, and politicians say it would help fight criminal activity in the “underground economy.”
For the government, the cashless society makes tracking and collection of taxes much easier whilst committing fraud much harder.
The US government keeps nearly 1.3 trillion dollars of currency in circulation – $4,000 for every man, woman and child in America at a cost of $200 billion annually. A vast majority of those bills (78 percent of them, in fact) are of the $100 denomination. That’s more than 30 bills per person while $10, $5 and $1 denominations only account for four percent of the bills we use.
Soon it will be mandatory to have a bank account, a mobile device and an internet connection. If this is something that you do not desire it will eventually be mandatory to get a sub dermal chip for tracking, proof of medical insurance, and all transactions.
Those who will suffer will be the homeless, the elderly and the very young, none of whom might have bank accounts; day laborers and other workers paid under the table; cabbies, waiters, valets and anybody else who rely on tips to supplement their wages.
If you want an efficient machine controlled system to work for you – you will be forced to be in the system, otherwise, you can live in the woods off the grid and even then that is not necessarily free from 5G and electronic intrusion.
I hope that as we are just coming to edge of full on robot control and algorithmic weaponizing of consciousness we can stop and ask ourselves if we are willing to put that much faith in governments and the technocratic upgrades in the system.