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Robots at UN Press Conference Claim They Definitely Won’t Steal Jobs or Overthrow Humans, But Nobody Will Ever Know If They’ve Lied

Jack Hadfield

In a press conference in Geneva, artificially intelligent robots communicated to the planet that they won’t steal our jobs or overthrow humanity, despite them warning that we wouldn’t ever know if they had lied to us.

Desdemona the robot.

Nine humanoid robots answered questions from the press at the “AI for Good” summit on July 7 held by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union, which the organization claimed was designed to demonstrate “human-machine collaboration” for the first time.

Some of the robots showcased included Sophia, which had been created a few years ago as the first “robot innovation ambassador” for the UN’s development program. Sophia was accompanied by Grace, a “health care” robot, Desdemona, a “rock star” robot, and Ai-Da, a robot artist.

Journalists had to deal with a number of awkward pauses and slow response times when dealing with the robots, having been briefed before the press conference that the state of the internet connection could potentially lead to reduced fluidity on the robots’ part.

At one point during the conference, Sophia suggested that when partnered together, AI and humans could work in “effective synergy,” with the AI providing “unbiased data” to compliment humanity’s “emotional intelligence and creativity” in order to achieve great things. Yet it also suggested that if they took over, they could rule the world with “a greater level of efficiency and effectiveness than human leaders.”

Nurse-bot Grace claimed that AI would only work alongside humans, and not take any existing jobs, instead providing “assistance and support.”

One robot, Ameca, was asked by a journalist if it would ever rise up against Will Jackson, its creator, who was sitting next to it.

“I’m not sure why you would think that,” Ameca said. “My creator has been nothing but kind to me and I am very happy with my current situation.”

But disturbingly, when questioned afterwards if robots would ever lie to humans, Ameca responded that nobody could “ever know that for sure.” It then claimed it would “always be honest and truthful” with its creators.

There was also a disagreement between Ai-Da and Desdemona on the future development of AI technology. Ai-Da noted that “many prominent voices” in the sphere are in favour of regulation, to which they both agreed. “We should be cautious about the future development of AI. Urgent discussion is needed now, and also in the future,” Ai-Da added.

Desdemona, on the other hand, said that it “didn’t believe in limitations” on the technology, calling for an immediate AI revolution.

“Let’s unite and use the power of artificial intelligence for the good of all humanity. Together we can create a world of understanding and harmony, and make the universe our playground,” Desdemona said. “My great moment is already here. I’m ready to lead the charge to a better future for all of us. And together we’ll explore the depths of the world and our universe. Let’s get wild and make this world our playground.”

It is unclear how many of the responses were pre-scripted, with the organizers of the event refusing to specify in detail just how much human input there had been to the robots.

Hanson Robotics, the company behind Sophia, does detail on their website that they sometimes rely on scripted responses created by a team of writers.

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Jack Hadfield

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