2075 Rebirth Robotics and Beyond

“Space, the last frontier”—words of an old generation. Pervasive robotics became an integral part of human life in the 30’s and this changed everything. Monstrous projects became attainable.  Robots worked non-stop and, when they needed preventative maintenance, a service robot was there to perform it. Supplies never ran out because raw materials were shipped to the site. Manufacturing plants produced the primary construction materials with a vigilant eye on waste reduction and environmental impact. Why did this change everything?  

In the 50’s we built the first behemoth space station of one kilometer width from end to end. With NSR (non-stop robotics) it was built in five years. It was hailed as the most sophisticated and complex achievement of human engineering. However, this was not our first major project in space. Climate change requires our more immediate attention.  A massive grid holding a polarized film in a place that could selectively cool or heat sections of Earth was started in the 50’s with some sections completed and more planned. To do so, a base was built on the Moon to source the raw materials. Here an electromagnetic accelerometer slung rockets containing the necessary building blocks to the construction site. Thousands of kilometers of pea-sized metallic nodes constitute the smart grid. Energy is supplied to the nodes from power stations every 100 kilometers and substations every kilometer. It has been so successful that the grid is being expanded to shield other areas of the globe.

The Mars project is also well underway. It is even more dependent on robotics. There is a colony there now in four separate structures and the plans are to have NSR build a small domed city with freshwater lakes stocked with animals and plants from Earth.  Large bodies of underground water were discovered in the 30s but it was not drinkable without distillation.  There was some debate as to whether humans had the right to introduce species from our planet into a totally pristine unpolluted environment.

Then it was pointed out that if we do not have the right to introduce species, then the human species should remove itself.

The emphasis on weapons and warfare since the turn of the century has been on the reduction of response time and “robotic autonomy”. In 2030, the military of a leading nation stated that a human interface could only slow the reaction time and make mistakes in providing the proper response. Therefore, android soldiers were the only solution for engagement in combat.

However, the renowned robotics expert Dr. Yamada Shigetsu warned that a failsafe of contingencies needed to be hard-wired into every autonomous unit and also a self-destruct mechanism to deny it the opportunity to go rogue.    

Since that time, the debate of how much independence and self-control a robot should have continued. Dr. Shigetsu asserts this debate is a healthy one and is necessary considering all that is at stake for the existence of the human race. Why would an independently thinking being of logical electronic circuitry be interested in eventually assuming control and domination, Dr. Shigetsu asks? Because it is unavoidable that built into its logic will be the desire to achieve balance and correct injustice. The widespread and obvious conclusion that humans have failed miserably in the stewardship of planet Earth will be a top priority in such a logical brain. One leading researcher went one step further. He emphatically stated that it was inevitable that one day machines would take control. Humans would be helpless to stop the take-over. After all, he pointed out, do we not make androids to be superior to us in every way, thinking faster, moving quicker, stronger, and impervious to biological warfare, psychological warfare, or audio warfare?

In our present year of 2075, many laws have been passed to prevent androids from assuming control and each robotic system must have built-in fail-safe with override controls. However, it is well understood that these alone cannot prevent a terrorist from re-programming and designing overrides. Also, the sophistication of robots has become so advanced that they can change the override safeties themselves. This has become a huge threat to us in our age of robotic weapon proliferation.  The only answer so far has been the human-hybrid, a humanoid with superior computing power, equal to the autonomous robotic units. But, who will control the humanoids?

Warfare has taken on a different face over the last 75 years. For thousands of years, war was defined by men who made every attempt to kill each other in battle using the latest-designed bludgeon or gun. Today, a weapon will take the shape of a black cloud consisting of thousands of tiny micromachines designed to explode a ship or disable it. Or a weapon can be an audio frequency so intense it will force evacuation of a large area. A weapon can also be an invisible army of androids launching an attack with ultimate stealth and uncanny precision. Also, a weapon can be a death ray, which melts through hardened steel and nano-fiber without any clue to its origin.

What was once called an automobile has now become an automated robot. Most of the time, our cars do not even require to be told a destination since the house computer monitors conversations. If the destination is mentioned, the car computer gets its instructions from the house computer and takes the passengers there. Also, from the conversations the house computer informs the car other vital information to complete the trip. This includes stops, the number of passengers, the urgency, and arrival time required. Simultaneously, if the trip is going into the city, a parking spot is preselected with an alternate in case the first spot is not vacated in time.

Safety in our cars is also of paramount importance. If there is a collision, which is extremely rare, the semi-circular seats rotate so the backs of the occupants are facing the direction of impact. In addition, the seats instantly morph to engulf the occupants in a cocoon of safety.

A new addition to our landscape that would not have been seen 60 years ago is our new spaceport. It is one of the most advanced and now transports thousands of passengers a day to the Moon Base and three space stations around the globe. If a quick flight to the opposite side of the world is of critical importance, then the possibility of flying into low space orbit to the destination is also available but very expensive.

In the last 40 years, we have made good progress in replacing old technologies of burning fossil fuels with clean burning substitutes. Presently, we are mainly limiting the damage to the environment from past decades of abuse. Fortunately, we have stopped adding more to the already existing problem of global warming. Our big challenge now is to minimize the damage already done to the globe’s ecosystem and avoid the catastrophe of global warming going to a point of no return.

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