Ominous questions keep filling in as we approach the start of the robot-manufacturing revolution — “What can we do to make room for that?” and “Who will love it when it grows?” All of which will make life unpleasant for humans and incredibly enjoyable for machines.
We can probably anticipate there will be hybrid technologies that will help us — perhaps tools that supplement humans’ efforts and technology that lets us enjoy the robotic company.
Human ingenuity is an incredible resource. But this becomes glaringly apparent when the job of making our robot friends more adaptable and available to us is also to give them greater survival capabilities. Maybe we can tell them now what they will be doing and build robots that behave precisely as they do. This might include something as simple as being able to become tiresome so that they are quick to tire themselves out, to earn praise for their skill, and to reduce the agony of dismantling.
For an actual living? Yes.
The researchers are onto something: When anthropomorphism was invented, it was meant to provide emotional support to humans. Once upon a time, there were ideas for a simian president, a sexed-up monkey, an Ozzy Osbourne monkey, and even a human-ruled Earth.
But all of those avatars ended up being batshit, in ways that we may not be ready to think through quite yet.