RoboMasters China

It’s called RoboMasters and it’s more important than it may seem. At first sight it could be classified as a nerdy game show. It is much, much more than that. The article below (and the video it contains) will beautifully demonstrate:

http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/27/13059144/dji-robomasters-robot-drone-battle-video-frank-wang-interview^

Robotics company DJI has been very smart in how it organized the game show. It’s a beautiful way to attract talent and reward the dedication of China’s students. I feel that this can become a long term commitment, a championship, and could turn out as one of the world’s leading benchmarks in robotics.

This has seriously impressed me. I’m seeing a fascinating amount of innovation and initiative arising from China in the past few years. The country is on the rise in a deeper, more meaningful way than in the “manufacturing powerhouse” decades.

My only worry regarding creating a thinking robot that can defend its base against all attackers is… well… think about it. Despite the scary scenarios that the thought may invite, in fact, I don’t believe artificial intelligence will arise as soon as others think. However, I do think that in a couple of decades it will become increasingly difficult to differentiate between a human and a robot when it comes to certain disciplines. Combat is one of these disciplines. You don’t want this sort of AI in the hands of terrorists.

We’re strolling into uncertain territory. I wish that AI researchers will be careful with all their programming in the coming decades. I wish they will keep ethics in mind and be aware that AI shouldn’t be thought of as some sort of servant, but as a partner. The desire to control and dominate will lead to nothing good.

For now, we could say it’s mostly advanced remote controlled machines fighting in the RoboMasters arena. But sooner or later we might have something that is not that much different from ourselves there, with all the ethical implications this will entail.

Related: more robotic innovation from Asia: here’s Japan’s sweating robot^.

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