Thoughts about robots.
I'm, as a person interested in robotics, studying periodically the information over the Internet. There is not so much of interesting material over there, but sometimes something occasionally catches the eye.
There is a lot of hype around the robots, saying that they will take away work places from people, or they will develop into a complex robo-civilization, or they will become smarter than people and then destroy everyone on Earth.
I strongly disagree with any of the such theories, including the assumptions of Elon Musk, so I will try to predict how I think everything will be in reality IMHO.
Let's start from afar, or rather from the first mechanisms that could be called robots, namely, CNC machines. Before the advent of the numerically controlled machines, people were used to conventional machines, and if you were familiar a bit with the subject, it becomes clear, that the quality of manual production, even produced with the use of machines, usually poorer than to be desired.
Well, if machinist is conscientious, and he does not need to produce a thousand bolts per shift, then he can perform a small series of parts with good quality. And what if you need to make a thousands of studs, or many many identical parts?
Here, semi-automatic devices go into action, and in general, you can still do it without cnc devices if there are good machine tool builders. The appearance of the CNC on the machines has solved a number of problems at once, for example, like the repeatability of the result, and the significant simplification of work for the machinist.
Now any machinist, having once debugged the program, could already make a series of identical parts, with specified tolerances. And I myself, when I cut the first part 10 times faster and 10 times more precisely than with my hands on my self-made CNC router, I realized, that without machines, it would be very difficult to exist for modern mankind, and no one is supposed to give up numerical control.
Since then, many companies have appeared, I will not name them, and everyone knows them, who produce all kinds of cnc machine tools, and not only machines, but also robots. In fact, cnc machines could also be called robots, since they perform a certain set of actions according to a given program, have a number of sensors, some of them even know how to determine their position in space, and so on.
Almost 70 years have passed since the first cnc devices appeared. I will note that the robots have not yet killed people, and were not even going to kill them, (not counting accidents at work sites). Everything happens exactly opposite way. Over the past 70 years, the number of people on Earth has doubled, partly due to the fact that industrialization occurred, and these very CNC machine tools created a condition for the production of high-quality consumer goods, which in turn increased people's quality of life and as a result, it led to the increase in the world's population.
Now we go further, we can certainly say that so called CNC machines do not have programs that will make machines stand-alone, and that machines do not have arms and legs ...
Okay! Let's say we learned how to make neural networks, let's say we know how to train them. Suppose we learned how to make robots that look like humans. A modern robot is a complex, engineering device, with a cost of many, many thousands, and maybe tens of thousands of dollars, which can break at any time.
Due to the fact that the robot consists of a huge number of parts, of varying degrees of importance, and the probability of failure of each is non-zero. The reliability of the entire robot is defined as the product of the reliability of all parts used in the robot, and the more robot has parts - the greater the likelihood of the robot or product breaking. Therefore, complex systems break more often than simple ones.
So what happens is that complex robots are insanely expensive, and it will be quite difficult to maintain them in working condition, that is, the cost of their operation can be much higher than the profit that can be obtained from the use of the robot, even if it works 25 hours a day, and 5 times faster than a person (usually the opposite is true).
In addition, some works require fine motor skills of a person’s hands, or special jigs to perform precise operations by a robot, so for some of the work it will be difficult to replace a person with robots.
The simple laws of economics work here that complex devices developed by smart people and made by high-level professionals, and then programmed by expensive programmers, cannot be cheap, but the Chinese cannot make simple and cheap robots, because all smart Chinese people already left from China, and those who remained there can make "crooked" machines for export.
Well, let's not talk about the Chinese, if you look over them, sometimes they do a good job. I must say that some products they produce is of high quality, mainly due to the presence of competition.
So, it turns out that smart and complex robots - if they appear in nature - they will not appear everywhere and immediately, but only sometimes and somewhere, and only for rich people... And at first, nobody will not be use the in production, but most likely they will be used only as toys.
And those robots that will be in production - they will be simple, robust, reliable, with simple brains, or completely without "brains"... That is, they will be ordinary CNC machines, as usual, people have been deceived.
I foresee, that no cnc robots will be able to force people out of areas that require precise mechanical work, from the field of art, in general and in all those areas in which people rule.
Robots cannot solve problems for humans, all they can do is just help to solve some problems. Therefore, the rapid emergence and penetration of robots into our life does not work out, no matter how the fantasts speculate about the topic, but there will be a slow, gradual increase in the mechanization of people's lives, there will be a gradual introduction of artificial intelligence elements into devices, and if there will be too much intelligence, or this intelligence will annoy with its stupidity - people will get rid of it and fast, creating a balance of people and robots.
In this form, all humans-and-robots will emerge to some symbiosis, where organic brains with flint-brain add-ons will improve the quality and diversity of people's lives (and robots), and ultimately all of us will get only better.
That's all for today, Cheers!