Upon reading an article today about the laws of robotics, I found myself drawing comparisons of the topic area, to Brexit. An unlikely mirroring, but there is an important learning in this for us.
Prof Dame Ottoline Leyser, co-chair of the Royal Society's science policy advisory group, spoke with the BBC this week to challenge the current three laws of robotics:
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
- A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the first law
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second law
Prof Leyser suggested we should have not three, but one principle in which to govern intelligence machines, namely:
"Humans should flourish."
Working in communications, I’m all for one, concise viewpoint. However, the change of principles for any movement so large and so powerful, will not please everyone.
As humans, we can be scared of A.I.’s consequences and averse to change. Similar to Brexit, we will never all agree on what is best for Britain and anti-Brexiteers are concerned about the negative impact it could have to our country.
Secondly, the debate around job security rides through both – with Labour this week trying to push forward a ‘jobs first’, economically driven Brexit, whilst the debate around whether robots could take over the human workforce is ongoing.
Finally, with both the future of A.I. and the impact of Brexit, we will never really know how things are going to play out until it actually happens – will having robotics entrenched in our lives make us happier, or in fact very unhappy? Will leaving the EU open more opportunities, or restrict the possibilities for future generations?
In summary, we don’t always know how things will pan out and for anyone within the comms industry, that can be a daunting prospect. However, as storytellers, whenever change calls, we must address it, alter our approach and embrace the story as new.
Brexit and bots will impact everyone, every business, every family, every person. The world is transforming and we must transform with it. But there is opportunity in change. Be fearless – and flourish.