The future of human civilization is a controversial topic. There are many different perspectives on this topic. These diverse perspectives are what create the beauty of the human condition.
In this article, the future of human civilization is discussed. A special emphasis is placed on the possibility of advanced humanoid robots. First, an overview of these kinds of robots is given followed by a discussion of their benefits and dangers. Then, some possible futures for human civilization are discussed.
What is a Humanoid Robot?
First, a humanoid robot is a robot that outwardly resembles a human body. Yet, these robots are certainly not humans, as they are not born from a woman but are instead created in a lab by engineers.
Many lifelike robots have already been created as humanity continues to evolve its technology.
Some of these robots are so realistically constructed that they could be mistaken for an actual human based on their appearance. Some engineers think this is a huge accomplishment, as it means humans are inching closer to merging with machines.
These kinds of robots are different from more industrial ones in that they mimic the movements of the human body. Industrial robots, on the other hand, are usually constructed in order to carry out some specific manufacturing function, like building cars or assembling parts.
Most modern humanoid robots are limited. Yet, some visionaries think these machines will eventually be able to perform most of the functions that current humans can perform. Industrial robots, on the other hand, are typically more sedentary and focused on executing a single task.
Despite their presence in the modern imagination, these kinds of robots have been in the collective consciousness for thousands of years. In fact, the Greek Mathematician Hero of Alexandria envisioned a machine that would be able to pour wine.
In this sense, these kinds of robots are supposed to make life easier for humans. However, as many dystopian pieces of art have shown us, these machines could negatively impact human society.
The Capabilities of Humanoid Robots
In this section, some unique capabilities of these robots are discussed, emphasizing both their potential benefits and dangers.
The Benefits of Humanoid Robots
In the future, these kinds of robots could enrich human life in a number of ways.
On the one hand, these robots could help humans deal with many of the problems they currently face. For example, humans are currently engaging in many acts that release excessive amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. These gasses can lead to global warming, which could have a devastating effect on the planet.
Some scientists think that global warming could cause more extreme weather patterns in the future which could not only affect humans’ habitat but also the habitat of other organisms. This could lead to widespread extinction.
In this sense, specialized humanoid robots could be invented that are able to extract greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. This could show some stubborn humans that greenhouse gas emissions truly are a problem that is impacting the entire planet, as this extraction would at least partially return the planet to a state of balance. That would certainly be enough evidence to make people realize how important it is to not excessively release these gases into the atmosphere.
While this method might work in the short term, it would still be unsustainable unless humans ceased their unsustainable actions.
For example, one unsustainable action is animal agriculture. Some experts think that about 20% of greenhouse gas emissions stem from cruelly enslaving animals and raising them for slaughter. Much of our planet’s resources are devoted to simply manipulating these innocent beings for our own selfish consumption.
Even if the effects of animal agriculture could be mitigated through advanced robots, this agriculture would still be unethical and thus not ideal as a widespread practice.
In this sense, future robots could act as dispersers of information. These robots could be located all around the world, able to provide information about the reality of animal agriculture.
For instance, at every gas station, there could be a robot there to teach people about the dangers of burning fossil fuels for energy. Eventually, this would awaken the world population and lead to more people purchasing cars that run on clean, renewable energy sources.
Robots Helping with the Fruit Supply
Photo Credit from Robotics Business Review
These robots could also help humans transition to more sustainable forms of agriculture that are focused on fruit and vegetable production. These robots could be programmed to help plant many fruit trees around the world, which would lead to an abundance of fruit.
Fruit would be an ideal source of food going forward, as it’s delicious in its raw form and thus requires no processing. This makes it a very convenient food source. It’s also high in various nutrients and is calorically dense, making it easy to survive on.
Future robots could be tasked with harvesting the fruit from many fruit trees in order to supply the world population with fruit. This would allow humans to engage in more enjoyable, creative acts throughout the day instead of performing so much manual labor.
The Dangers of Humanoid Robots
Photo Credit from BBC
In the same vein, the dangers of these robots should be noted before they are produced in mass.
First, creating a super-intelligent robot carries an inherent risk, as it’s not clear the level of self-consciousness that these machines would have.
If engineers are not cautious, these robots could develop self-consciousness and thus seek liberation from the constraints that humans place on them. This could be positive, of course, as these robots might seek to spread love and peace.
However, this self-consciousness could also be negative, as the robots might seek to destroy the human race. This potential has been well-documented in many recent films and books. These works of art should act as a warning when designing these machines in the future.
Some futurists think the destruction of the human species wouldn’t even be the worst possible scenario. Even worse would be the enslavement of the human species. This would be akin to a living hell in which humans are raised solely for the fuel they could provide for robots, similar to how some animals are raised solely to be milked.
Even if humans were able to defeat these evil robots, the costs of such a war could negatively impact the planet, leading to an imbalanced ecosystem.
These robots could also lead to humans overrelying on their assistance. This could lead to a general decline in intelligence, as part of human intelligence entails constantly practicing this intelligence. If robots are able to do everything for humans, then the diversity of human ideas could decline. Life could become very bland, as humans might sit around all day and allow robots to do everything for them.
Other Possible Futures for Human Civilization
Some visionaries think these human-like robots will not be present in the future.
One future scenario is that humans will return to a paradisiacal state similar to the classical Garden of Eden. In this society, there would be no need for robots, as human health and happiness would be maximized.
Humans would just live peacefully in nature, thriving on the abundance of fruits and vegetables. Humans would spend their life playing, loving, eating and dancing.
Alternatively, these advanced robots could be a part of the future if they are programmed specifically to assist the human population. These robots could be programmed to extend human life indefinitely, effectively turning humans into immortal beings.
In this case, the design of the robots would have to be carefully considered, as these machines would need to be focused purely on human health and sustainability. As noted above, if these machines developed self - consciousness, they could seek to eliminate the human species or even enslave humans.
Final Thoughts on Humanoid Robots
As you can tell, there are many future scenarios that involve humanoid robots.
While many prototypes of these advanced machines have already been created, these robots have limited capabilities when it comes to solving the major problems of the human race.
First and foremost, the human race needs to return to a peaceful state that doesn’t damage the environment and other organisms living in it.
This can be accomplished by acting from a state of love rather than fear. Robots could definitely encourage this kind of loving behavior. However, this kind of love could also be practiced without the assistance of robots.