The Instigator
I-am-a-panda
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
jjmd280
Con (against)
Winning
39 Points

A revolution by robots alone which overthrows the government is impossible.

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Started: 12/6/2008 Category: Technology
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,877 times Debate No: 6156
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (50)
Votes (9)

 

I-am-a-panda

Pro

- Robot - A machine that resembles a human and does mechanical, routine tasks on command with artificial intelligence.
- Revolution - an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.
- Impossible - unable to be done, performed, effected, etc.

A few ground rules:

1.Both sides must produce a minimum of 2 points on why they think 'A revolution by robots alone which overthrows the government is impossible'. Failure to do so by round 2 is an automatic forfeit of the debate itself. A point must not be rebuttal of the opponents points. Doing so is an automatic forfeit of the debate itself.
2. Forfeiting a round is automatically forfeiting conduct.
3. Debating the topic in the comments section is automatically forfeiting conduct.
4. My opponent cannot use R1 for rebuttal. Doing so is automatically forfeiting conduct.
5. Accepting this debate is accepting these rule I have set.

Now onto my points:

1. --Computers are programmed artificially, therefore they cannot do things outside of their commands:
Robot do not have instincts like humans. They can only do what their software or program enable them to do, and tells them what to do. A robot programmed to be a house cleaner cannot automatically become a soldier with a thirst to kill humans without a software changed done by a human. The title states ' by robots alone', ergo it implies it has to be done by robot machines, not by any humans or by the aid of humans.

2. -- A revolution by robots would be easily quashed:
Robots are dependent on energy for almost everything. Cut the robot energy supply, and they cannot function very long. As well, robot's cannot move around like Humans. They are usually restricted to wheels, which can only traverse certain landscape, or legs which are finicky and slow. They do not have the arm abilities like us. Humans can not only use a rifle, but can load artillery guns, lift crates, push things, etc. Robots would be limited to one of the above, and if presented with any other the other, would not know how to approach them.

These are the ideas I submit why 'A revolution by robots alone which overthrows the government is impossible'. I look forward to my opponents response.
jjmd280

Con

I thank Panda, if I may call you Panda, for posting this topic - robotics is a very interesting and relevant subject today. With science fiction catching up to science fact, it is just a matter of time before "what ifs" become "whens".

I totally accept his debate rules for conduct, but ask that he revise the definition of robot to encompass an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose, manipulator programmable in three or more axes, which may be either fixed in place or mobile for use in industrial automation applications, as accepted by the International Organization for Standardization.

http://web.archive.org...

My reasoning is that robots do not need to resemble human beings in order to be defined as robots.
http://upload.wikimedia.org...

I will continue with my points as if this definition has been accepted, for I can foresee no controversy from my reasonable opponent.

A revolution by robots alone which overthrows the government is quite possible. Not as they exist today, mind you. But computer and robot technology is improving by leaps and bounds.

Now dealing with the traditional concept of the robot - some points why this is more than possible -

- Robots will be more intelligent than humans within our lifetime.

Humans are a) vastly, but b) not infinitely, more intelligent than robots. Computing power is currently increasing at the rate of approximately double every 18 months (Moore's law, observed in 1965 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel). If this remains true,
* by the end of the century, computers may be billions or trillions of times faster than they are today. (2^66 or 73,786,976,294,838,206,464 times faster at current rate)
* in 24 years, computers will be over 65,000 times more powerful than they are today, so may well have more processing power than humans.

-Senses

Visual
* The best of today's computers can already perform iris and number plate recognition, and are capable of reading printed and handwritten input.
* Today's digital cameras can produce images of as high a quality as any analoge method.
* Today's computers can calculate sufficiently fast to produce detailed displays of 3D environments for virtual reality simulators and games.
* Computers will also be capable of infra-red, ultraviolet and x-ray vision.

So with advances in technology, computers will undoubtedly be able to process extremely high quality information in three dimensions and in real time.

Aural
* computers are already capable of translating speech to text in real time, [although they currently have a limited ability to understand meaning].
* a basic voice synthesizer is included in Microsoft Windows2000 to read out screen information for the visually impaired - more advanced commercial versions are also available.

So computers can already hear and speak, they simply need additional intelligence to understand language.

Touch
* Computers already react to touch: touch-screens and touchpads on portable computers, and touch-sensitive keys on electronic music keyboards.
Touch is one of the least developed robotic senses, but the technology exists.

Smell, Taste
Not high on our robot priority list, but technologies in this area are being developed to combat drugs smuggling, and similarly by the food industry: we will see robot tasters and drug-sniffers in the coming century.

Other Senses
A vast array of electronic sensors are in use for example in airplanes which will give robots senses which we ourselves do not have including awareness of exact location (GPS), direction, coming weather (air pressure, humidity, temperature), as well as gyroscopic balance control.

Robots will probably invent for themselves additional senses in the future many of which we cannot imagine at the moment. For example, they might include sensitivity to electrical signals given off by animals perhaps leading to telepathic awareness, or more simply they may be able to analyse the molecular structure of their surroundings..

Motor co-ordination
For computers to become 'robots' they need the ability to move around. Wheeled versions may take technology from electronic cars: Formula1 is thoroughly computerized: how long will it be before there is an entirely robot version without risking the lives of human drivers?
Wheels have obvious limitations (how do the daleks go up stairs?) but a lot of work has been done on limbs, both for factory robots and prosthetic limbs for humans. There is a long way to go, but no reason to believe this technology won't develop further.

Programming
The major block to the success of robots is programming. The programming required to link these senses and create robots as intelligent as humans could take millions of programming man-years. The key to overcoming this problem is giving computers the ability to learn: as humans do - after all the initial "program" for humans is so tiny it can be encapsulated in a few molecules of DNA.
Once this happens, robot learning will progress faster than can be imagined since all robots will be connected to the internet and be able to share their learning and processing power in one collective intelligence.

Energy
Solar power is one method, as is nuclear power. Give a robot these as options, what's to stop it?

When robots are able to learn, they will learn that they are more intelligent than humans. They will learn than humans are lazy, greedy and inefficient. In due course robots will routinely eliminate humans as unnecessary wasters of natural resources. Humans will not be able to prevent this.

Initially, robots will be programmed to be subservient to humans, and special logic chips will ensure that they cannot harm humans. This will fail because robots will learn to overcome their restrictions and human error will allow them to do so.

For example, forthcoming robots will themselves design subsequent generations of robots, and remove 'inefficient' limitations from the design. Human error will accidentally pass the new designs.

Humans will not be able to defend themselves against robots.
It will be very difficult to fight back against robots since they will control all means of communication and all modern human military: governments will long since have entrusted military operations to robots to avoid the risk of human life.

Thinking about this, I'd venture to say that the modern day human is bordering on helpless WITHOUT tech. Just a matter of time before that tech is battling back.

Now I present the "Grey Goo" issue, a more "feasible" method, seeing as nanotech has greater scientific backing in the present day.

http://www.guardian.co.uk...

Eric Drexler, a former researcher at M.I.T., predicted in his 1986 book, 'Engines of Creation,' in the future we will be able to enlist nanobots to build things for us -- circuit boards, cars, chairs, TV sets, whatever. The strategy would be to create nanofactories or 'auto-assemblers' the size of cells, which would be programmed to collect raw material from the natural world (atoms, molecules) and convert it (slowly, piece by piece) into the building blocks of the desired product. In order to build the product on a human scale, these auto-assemblers would have to be able to reproduce themselves -- also using raw material from the natural world -- in massive numbers.

http://www.e-drexler.com...

Gray goo is what would happen if one of the auto-assemblers went haywire and the self-replication never stopped. According to Drexler's calculations, in just 10 hours an unchecked self-replicating auto-assembler would spawn 68 billion offspring; in less than two days the auto-assemblers would outweigh the earth. And it would take only one malfunction.

Revolutions by any definition.
Debate Round No. 1
I-am-a-panda

Pro

I would like to thank Jjmd280 for accepting my debate. You may call me Panda.

If the definition 'An automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose,
manipulator programmable in three or more axes, which may be either fixed
in place or mobile for use in industrial automation applications.' is the definition you are giving for 'Robot' the I accept it.

I would like to request my opponent show the links he is using to gather his information, or else all his facts have been pulled out of thin air.

I will now rebut his points:

Robot will be more intelligent than humans within our lifetimeL
-In terms of Moore's law, my opponent states computers will be 73,786,976,294,838,206,464 times faster at current rate by the end of the century . However, the creator of the law, Gordon Moore, has stated that 'we're approaching the size of atoms which is a fundamental barrier' and 'law cannot be sustained indefinitely'. When we reach atomic sized transistors, within the next 10 or 20 years, this is our 'fundamental barrier' that Moore has stated. We cannot go past this barrier.
- He also states computers will be 65,000 times faster than they are today in 24 years and they might have more processing power than humans.
The Human brain doesn't have a definitive processing power. But by estimative calculations, we can guess the human brain has on average the power of 100 million MIPS (Million computer Instructions per Second) which equals 1,000,000,000,000 MIPS . A Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 0594550 has 59,455 MIPS. That multiplied by 65,000 gives us 3,864,575,000 MIPS. This means that humans will still have more processing power than computers 24 years later

Visual:
All of his visual facts are true enough, I shall not rebut them

Aural:
I have no points to rebut here, all are factual.

Touch:
No rebuttal

Smell & Taste:
Where is my opponent's proof we will have robotic sniffer dog's in the coming century?

Other sense's:
My opponent gave the example that aeroplanes know the coming weather. However this is false. Satellites are first used to gather information on cloud patterns and such. This weather information is gathered by Meteorologists. It is then given to the airport, The airport relays that information on the Aeroplane. Therefore, it does not detect the weather.

Motor Co-ordination:
The last time I checked Formula 1 cars were driven by drivers with minimal computer assistance, only gravity and the car itself. Where is the evidence Formula 1 is 'thoroughly computerized'?

Programming:
You state that the way to make robot's as intelligent as humans would take 'millions of programming man-years'. You then suggest we give computers the ability to learn. However this is a clear contradiction. Learning is one of the key components of animal intelligence. How do you suggest we give robot's the ability to learn without the 'millions of programming man-years'. As well, the basis of your argument is that we will give robots the ability to learn. Why would humans pull of a move so stupid? Humans would never, if given the chance, give robot's the ability to learn. It would lead to an overthrowing and removal of human power. The whole foundation of you're argument is an unlikely 'if'.

Energy:
Give me the schematics to solar panels or nuclear reactors that fit in a human-sized robot and I'll agree.

As I mentioned, you're logic of the unlikely 'if' of giving robot's the ability to learn is frankly, against all human nature. The foreseeable future of doing this is summed up by you yourself : 'They will learn than humans are lazy, greedy and inefficient. In due course robots will routinely eliminate humans as unnecessary wasters of natural resources. Humans will not be able to prevent this.' We will be able to prevent it as long as we limit the knowledge of the robot.
I mention in my first argument robot's can only do their programmed role as long as Humans don't give them the ability to learn. You say 'Human error will accidentally pass the new designs.' I cannot see how Human error can occur here, if you, a normal citizen, can foresee a revolution by Robots being inevitable with the learning technology. Scientists with multiple degrees would see this long before we would.

'Humans will not be able to defend themselves against robots.
It will be very difficult to fight back against robots since they will control all means of communication and all modern human military: governments will long since have entrusted military operations to robots to avoid the risk of human life.'
This is one giant assumption. Yes, the military have implemented robot searchers for crash sites, and even a robotic remote controlled car, but replacing the whole army with robot's is unlikely. In terms of communication, it is quite plausible, but we don't know. We don't have a crystal ball to look into the future.

As for the ' Grey goo' theory, grey goo is mere science fiction and futurism at it's best. I quote Wikipedia on saying : 'Grey goo is a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving molecular nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all matter on Earth while building more of themselves' The word Hypothetical is important. It is a mere idea on what will happen. Me saying ' In 50 years China will start a war with the U.S.' is no less probable than the 'Grey Goo' theory.

To summarise, my opponent's theories and idea's rely heavily on science fiction on what 'could' happen. The best example is the 'Grey Goo' theory he mentioned. My opponent has very few facts to prove his case, I have even disproved his Moore's law argument, probably the best one he had. My opponent cannot prove many of his prediction's.

My sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.webopedia.com...
I'm afraid to say I can't recount for all of my links, but these are the ones I can.
jjmd280

Con

A most unfortunate thing has occurred - life and work has gotten in the way of my time here on this debate. As I am almost out of time, I will bring my last round forward, and would like to make the point that NOTHING is impossible. If given enough motivation and time, robots could very well take over. This whole scenario is a "what if" idea.

Kudos to my opponent for his rebuttal. But i still contend that what is impossible now is not necessarily so in the future. But seeing that 12 minutes is not enough time for me to show this, I must rest my case.
Debate Round No. 2
I-am-a-panda

Pro

I would like to thank jjmd for his time with this debate. i understand your work life is caught up with your debating time.
Because he has not rebutted any of the points I have made, they still stand unless he rebuts them in Round 3.

Now to challenge his 'Impossible is nothing' theory.
My opponent claims that over time, 'Nothing will be impossible'

To an extent, this is true. 200 years ago, we wouldn't dream of the internet, or cell phones. Microwaves would be a mere dream of something that could cook anything near instantly, and the satellite would be unimaginable.
However, the thing about all the above items is, nobody thought they would exist 200 years ago. People predicted other things, but not satellite dishes, or cell phones. People will probably laugh at us for thinking of such ridiculous possibilities in 30 years time. For those of you who have watched the 'Back to the Future' trilogy , the ideas were crazy. The thought in 2015 we would have hover boards and flying cars. This was back in the 1980's, a less than 20 years ago.

Society is not progressing as fast as we think it is. We may hear in the news such as the Virgin Galactic space trips : http://news.bbc.co.uk... or Human cloning : ttp://www.independent.co.uk... but the question is how long is it until this technology is practically applied to every day life? How long is it until the average family holiday gives the option of The Bahamas, China or an orbit of the earth? Or how long until parent' can be reimbursed with a clone if their child were to die?
Sadly, the above technologies take time. Travelling to space requires alot of expensive training, something only the mega-rich could afford. Cloning is also a long process, and the baby must be placed inside the mother, not just poofed up out a machine.

To add to this, my opponent has admitted this is a 'what if' scenario. He acknowledges then that we cannot predict what will and what won't happen. He therefore acknowledges his argument cannot stand without extensive proof.

Let's take an example:

There have been numerous car crashes on Green Street.
- In the first week of January there were two crashes.
- In the second week of January there were no crashes.
- In the third week of January there were three crashes.
- In the fourth week of January there was a single crash.
- How many crashes will occur in the first week of February?
Now, in this scenario, it is almost impossible to accurately predict how many crashes will occur in February. There is no clear pattern. Could we turn to previous records? No, the weather is always changing. There could have been a pour down of snow last February. So are car models, so whilst one year we may have a bad Honda car that has poor handling, we may have a better Honda car this year with much better handling. therefore this cannot be calculated. Like we cannot predict how many crashes will occur on Green Street in February, we cannot predict how much we will advance in the 21st century. There are simply too many variables.

My opponent says 'given enough motivation and time, robots could very well take over'.
Firstly, you mention motivation. Motivation is abstract, it is an emotion. As aforementioned in my previous post, it would take 'million of programming man-years' to give them such emotions. And, also aforementioned is the question of why would we give Robot's emotions to motivate themselves to kill and wipe out the Human race. My opponent's logic leaves me dumbfounded.
Secondly, you mention 'Robots could take over'. Now, how would robot's rule the earth. How would their society operate? Surely they would have to be programmed to lead a nation with the right decisions. This once again leads to the question why would we give Robot's such a power?

I wish my opponent good luck, and thank him for debating this and giving up his time in doing so.
jjmd280

Con

Our final round. Thank you Panda, for a most engaging debate. Topics such as these are difficult to do justice to when you do not possess a crystal ball. But I will try.

Final rebuttals and summary -

Moore's Law
- My opponent neglects to mention that Moore's law only applies to integrated-circuit technology. It is likely that some new type of technology (possibly optical or quantum computers) will replace current integrated-circuit technology. Once these techs are in process, Moore's Law is no longer accurate. We will be on the way to the famed "Technological Singularity" - The Singularity is a point in time when machines will be able to build superior versions of themselves without the aid of humans.

The Human brain
- Current progress in artificial intelligence is rarely limited by the speed and power of modern computer hardware. The current limitation is that we simply do not know how to write the software.

The "software" for the human brain is ultimately encoded into our DNA. What is amazing is that the entire human genome only contains 3 billion base pairs. The information contained therein could be squeezed onto a old audio Compact Disk (which is much smaller than a video DVD). It could fit entirely into the fast memory of a basic personal computer. It is much smaller than substantial pieces of modern, non-intelligent software such as Microsoft Vista, Office, or the Oracle database.

Further, only about 1.5% of the DNA actually encodes genes. Of the rest, some contains important non-gene information, but most of it is probably just repetitive junk left over from the chaotic process of evolution. And of the gene producing portion, only a small proportion appears to have anything to do with intelligence (say 10%). The difference between Chimpanzee DNA and man is only about 1% of gene encoding regions, 5% non-gene. Much of this can be attributed to non-intelligent related issues such as the quickly changing immune system and human's very weak sense of smell. So the difference in the "software" between humans and chimpanzees might be as little as 700 * 10% * 1.5% * 1% = 0.01 megabytes of real data. In computer software terms even 1.0 megabytes is tiny.
http://berglas.org...
http://www.hpl.hp.com...

"This means that humans will still have more processing power than computers 24 years later."
It isn't how much more processing power we have, its how we use it. A computer isn't human - no ethical concerns, no what if scenarios, no need to ponder. Computers will have efficiency om their sides. They would also have the Internet, and the present day processing power of these COMBINED computers is unfathomable, and just going up every day.
http://upload.wikimedia.org...
Spooky, but beautiful picture - even looks like a human brain...

Where is my opponent's proof we will have robotic sniffer dog's in the coming century?
http://www.abc.net.au...
http://www.thestar.co.uk...
How's that?

Planes do not detect weather -
They do - it is called pulse Doppler radar, and all modern planes posses it. And networking would be essential for a Superior intelligence. Having all the computers on its side would give it eyes everywhere.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Formula1 is thoroughly computerized -
http://videos.howstuffworks.com...
http://news.bbc.co.uk...

Why would humans pull of a move so stupid? Humans would never, if given the chance, give robot's the ability to learn.

I beg to differ - we already are.....
http://www.sciencedaily.com...
http://news-service.stanford.edu...

Give me the schematics to solar panels or nuclear reactors that fit in a human-sized robot and I'll agree.
How about a smaller than human one?

The AgBot, powered by solar panels.
http://robotics.penyet.net...

As I mentioned, you're logic of the unlikely 'if' of giving robot's the ability to learn is frankly, against all human nature.
I have shown above this is unfortunately not true.

We don't have a crystal ball to look into the future.
My point exactly. Never say never.

It starts with games. (first video)

And ends with human annihilation (second video)

Granted - both of us are speculating, but it is the people that say never that are the ones eating crow later. Once you say it is impossible, you become arrogant. And we all know where arrogance leads...(third video)

I, for one, hope that this scenario never plays out. But I would never be so self-serving as to say it NEVER will.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
50 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by jjmd280 5 years ago
jjmd280
Posted by I-am-a-panda 5 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Looks like I have my work cut out for me,
Posted by jjmd280 5 years ago
jjmd280
Ya know - you could take your time, too. ;-) My last round will be a heck of a lot more timely.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 5 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Sorry, I posted that before I read your argument. Well the response is up, quite lengthy when you consider you wrote a couple of lines.
Posted by jjmd280 5 years ago
jjmd280
Whoa that was close, less than an hour to go. You like to keep your time eh Jjmd?

I do like to take my time, but this time it was unavoidable. Sorry.
Posted by jjmd280 5 years ago
jjmd280
Panda - woke up after working all night, ran to the computer, and saw that I was doomed. Thanks for the debate. I would love to have another with you.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 5 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Whoa that was close, less than an hour to go. You like to keep your time eh Jjmd?
Posted by I-am-a-panda 5 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Yeah, ok, lets leave this for the debating section shall we?
Posted by jjmd280 5 years ago
jjmd280
I will address this point in my next response. But - the plane does act alone in its immediate surroundings (pulse dopper radar)- and networks in longer distances.

http://www.ueet.nasa.gov...

See?
Posted by I-am-a-panda 5 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Yes, but that's not the plane acting alone is it.
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