When Robots Attack...

Department of Defense
I'm pretty far out there when it comes to speculation about the future. Still, some recent bet offerings at the Long Bets website strike me as peculiar. Bet #88 is a rather transparent marketing effort for an upcoming (but vaguely-described) product. (You can't fault this spammer's grandiose ambition: he expects that 3 billion people will use software conforming to his product's UI metaphor by 2025.)

My wacky favorite is Bet #86, where a fellow by the name of Alex K. Rubin posits:

By the year 2150, over 50% of schools in the USA or Western Europe will require classes in defending against robot attacks.
Rubin offers further details in his "pro" argument:
I predict robots with AI will inevitably be uncontrollable and over power their human masters. Schooling and education is what the children of the future need to fend off these super human robots. Therefore, many schools will offer if not require training in robot fighting. The first wave of these schools to offer the class will be around 2120.
The charm of this prediction is how it combines the fantastic (super robots overpower mankind...) with the mundane (...thus kids in the US and Western Europe will have to take a class in anti-robot warfare). I guess that makes it the four R's: readin', 'ritin', 'rithmetic, and repellin' robots.

If Rubin were simply to predict that robots overrun the planet or gracefully succeed/replace humans in the same timeframe, I'd just think, "well, yeah, interesting idea, might happen with runaway technological progress, ok." But instead Rubin's focus on curriculum has me picturing Jimmy, the star quarterback, struggling to pull his grade in 5th-period Robot-Defense up to passing so he can start in the 2124 Homecoming Game.

Of course, if you suspect the robots are already a threat, and you're over the age of 50, Old Glory Insurance offers Robot Attack Insurance for as little as $4 a month!

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