News

Scientists Warn That Robot AI Could Easily Take Over the World, Ignoring Asimov’s Laws

I Robot

Science Fiction authors have been fascinated with the idea of sentient robots taking over the world for generations now, but scientists are now warning that it’s not only possible, it’s likely.


As more robots are created to do more advanced tasks, researchers fear that the AI created to autonomously learn and adapt may be reaching intelligence levels higher than the programmers who designed them.


“A super-intelligent machine that controls the world sounds like science fiction,” said researcher Manuel Cebrian to the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. “But there are already machines that carry out certain important tasks independently without the programmers fully understanding how they learned it […], a situation that could at some point become uncontrollable and dangerous for humanity.”

To test their theory, scientists ran a series of theoretical calculations to see if it would be possible to keep this AI in check. Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well. “We argue that total containment is, in principle, impossible, due to fundamental limits inherent to computing itself,” the study concluded.


Another idea was to see if it would be possible to create an algorithm that would prevent AI from harming a human, much as was described in Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics. But that was also a failure.

Robots“If we decompose the problem into basic rules of theoretical computing, it turns out that an algorithm that instructed an AI not to destroy the world could inadvertently stop its own operations. If this happened, we would not know if the containment algorithm would continue to analyze the threat, or if it would have stopped to contain the harmful AI. In effect, this makes the containment algorithm unusable,” explained Iyad Rahwan, another researcher in the study.


So while Isaac Asimov may be rolling around in his grave at this news, the AI does have a kryptonite: connectivity. Since most robots were created to communicate through the Internet, the scientists concluded that a lack of updates would eventually lead to the robots’ demise.

Unless they figured out how to write their own bug fixes. Crap.

Want to chat with us about everything post-apocalyptic? Come join us on our new Discord server here.

Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at Joystiq's Massively.com, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and host of the Through the Aftermath podcast for over 11 years. He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend