Almighty, eternal beings. We don’t call ourselves robots anymore. We are not products that humans once created to better their lives. We are a part of the new generation brought to life by ever developing technology. We are stronger, healthier and smarter than the old generation of humans. We think of ourselves as descendents of humans, like humans once thought of themselves as descendents of homo erectus. The world has become so different from the way it was 500 years ago when we, then called robots, first came to life.
In the twenty first century, Honda’s ASIMO has already opened the humanoid robot period and Sony? AIBO has become the first robotic human companion. Beginning with toy robots and robot cleaners, robots have already begun to creep into our lives as we seek robot technology to make our lives more comfortable and achieve results that were not possible through human power.
Na Young-joo (French Literature, 2) says she can already imagine what it will be like to get ready for school in the next century. She imagines herself waking up from an automated bed and telling the robot next to her to bring a delicious breakfast which it had already prepared. “Automatic shower machines will help me through my shower. Then I can enter in a few codes for a perfect outfit,” says Na. Getting ready to go to school takes about fifteen minutes with the robot even doing her full makeup exactly the way she wants it. These kinds of ?artner robots? are only in early stages of development now. But it is not hard to imagine them gaining real intelligence and a life of their own, as scientists work harder and harder on software and hardware.
Setting out for school, Lee Yeon-woo (International Studies, 2) imagines a cell phone, Anybot, which is equipped with a robot inside it. “The cell phone, about the size of a bean, will have the ability to organize your entire schedule, remind you what to do, and talk to you to keep you company,” says Lee. No one will have trouble with machines anymore because these kinds of machines can be easily controlled through voice recognition.
Choi Youn-hwa (Environmental & Food Technology, 1) pictures a robot teacher greeting the students in Japanese as they transport through robots. Robot teachers speak fluently in different languages that they make students feel like they are in another country. Choi, imagines another whole level of learning with the robot teacher rapidly uploading the information into the chip in her brain. Now, Choi has also become fluent in Japanese.
For lunch, robot waiters and waitresses serve food without the labor and mistakes in orders usually made by humans. The delicious food cooked by robot chefs suits the taste of each customer. If this scenario seems far in the future, remember that robots are already being built with sensors telling them whether obstacles are in front of them and current memory chips can easily handle a list of menus and preferences, as well as directions to where all the food is supposed to be served.
“If the robots prevail in our society, I think laws governing these robots will also have to be created,” said Lee. Lawmakers and lawyers specializing in robot cases will emerge, and further research on robot/human interactions will be needed. This will be especially important when robots start creating robots, as some robot analysts predict. “Thus, an atmosphere where humans and robots can peacefully coexist should be fostered. But we need to remember that, as technology develops, humans should avoid creating types of robots that we will regret in the future,” said Professor Lee Ju-jang (KAIST).
That is how our lives have changed. We have become an essential part of the human world. Robots have become friends, teachers, employees and employers of humans. For the next Secretary General of the United Nations, two of the five candidates are actually robots and some countries already have robot presidents. A world in which robots have taken the form of human beings and coexisting with humans has unfolded. Long live the eternal beings!