Are we preparing the ground for the robotic takeover? We work impossible hours trying to keep up with the virtual city that literally never sleeps. Only a robot could cope with that schedule.
I’m a science fiction writer mostly because the idea of the scientific method is at the heart of my intellectual processes. My life proceeds in a created environment that exists in opposition to the natural one, an environment that is the product of the hubris of our civilization, of our willingness to apply our ideas to our needs and wants. I was educated to eschew belief in favor of curiosity and inquiry so I question everything. Life is full of miracles, large and small, and the challenge has always been to assimilate these events in ways that conform with our beliefs about the nature of reality. Unfortunately, much of modern science refuses to consider questions that resist integration with the established and generally accepted Universal Laws of Science.
Clearly delineated paradigms control the legitimacy of questions. This is partly the result of how science is funded. Endeavors that promise profitable products are more likely to get funding. Space exploration, for example, yields many short term products that reward investors with returns on their dollars. The search for knowledge, the open-ended kind of science that is likely to enhance our understanding of the Universe is less likely to attract financial support precisely because that kind of science cannot be justified, not even as a long-term strategic move, by investment analysts. That’s where science fiction is cued for it’s brief moment on the World’s stage.
In our imagined worlds of dystopian and utopian civilizations, life with and without the most amazing machines and technologies is possible. We are free to invent musical instruments and life-enhancing devices at will. And we have. Perhaps my readers can help me enumerate the real-world inventions that were prefigured by science fiction writers. Which writer wins the prize for showing real science the way forward? Jules Verne perhaps, with his submarines and time machines? And how about robots? Which sci-fi author first wrote about robots? Google informs that the honor goes to Karel Capek for his play RUR; here’s a link to a free copy for your examination and enjoyment. Please send me your favorite robot story – link or name. If you have an interesting short story that you’d like to share with the readers of this blog, I’d be happy to facilitate publication here. Guest blogs are welcome; contact me for details.
Are the robots coming? Definitely, yes. In fact, they’re already here. What will that mean for us?
To be continued.