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Some Say The World Will End With Robots

Monday, October 19, 2009

With apologies to Robert Frost.

Hollywood hasn’t painted a flattering picture for artificially intelligent robots.

Isaac Asimov and Will Smith showed us how three simple laws could go wrong in I, Robot.


And decades earlier we had HAL. HAL wasn’t very nice to Dave.


It was Skynet that really drove the point home. Artificially intelligent robots are more of a threat to the human race than carbon dioxide and swine flu put together.

Artificial Intelligence Isn’t The Intelligence We Have To Worry About

Geek dad John Baichtal has me thinking that humans with real intelligence and ingenuity wreak enough havoc all by themselves. John pointed to a research paper from the University of Washington that looks at the vulnerabilities of connected robots.

Vulnerability Example:

Usernames and passwords used to access and control the robots are not encrypted, except in the case of the Spykee, which only encrypts them when sent over the Internet. A malicious person could potentially intercept these to gain control of and access to the robots.

From the conclusions:

Household robots have different types of risks than traditional computers. With traditional computers, third-parties can try to get your financial information or destroy your files. With current and future household robots, third-parties can have eyes, ears, and “hands” in your home.

Currently you can buy a one day DDoS atttack for $30. In the future I could see the black market charging $30 to “terrorize a family of 4 in Yeehaw Junction, FL with their networked Roomba”.