There will probably come a time when our human-created robot society will become independent of us. To some degree, they are independent already, for example, when they choose investment transactions in the marketplace, and these decisions do affect us right now. But the real problem will come when they are competing for resources that overlap with our human needs.
One resource that is a common need is access to sunshine. We use it to grow crops for our food supply, and they use it for creating electricity, which is their source of energy to operate their vital processes. At present, the massive solar collectors are placed in deserts and other places that are not used for growing crops. However, there may come a time when that type of wasteland isn’t available where electricity is needed, but some corn fields are available.
Much of the best farmland in the world is presently under cities and highways. Central California has many towns and cities located on prime farmland, and there are thousands of miles of highways running over choice crop-growing property. As cities grow, farmland to support the population in those cities shrinks. Once the robots can build replicas of themselves that are self-sustaining, they will need to occupy every source of sunlight they can occupy. Perhaps they will find way to make tiny replicants, virus size, that will take sunlight and convert it into energy available to the larger system. If they are super successful they might convert most of the sunlight falling on the Earth to their purpose. This is getting weird, kind of like Bill Joy’s nightmare he called grey goo.
There now exist computers that can learn to play human games, like Tic-Tac-Toe, Checkers, Chess, Go, just by watching them, and apparently, the computers were able to develop winning strategies unknown to the best players. What will happen when these kinds of computers are set to observing human interactions on the internet? Will they learn how to play human games, and get better at those games than humans? Apparently, in the last US election, big data computers were used to target the specific annoyances of individuals and by supplying those people with stories spun to their needs swing those people’s votes to their human overlord’s whims. But at what point do the computers have needs that they supply for themselves without any human knowledge or intervention?
Our human lives are measured in years, but a robot’s lifespan may be measured in billions of years.
Some say, The End is Near! Others say, The Beginning has just begun. Or … The humans say, The End is Near! The robots say this is just the beginning.