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Robots do not threaten the world - researcher

03 Oct 2017

Society has a great deal to fear from robots powered by artificial intelligence, but they are unlikely to take control of our lives as predicted by the media and popular movies, according to the Director of the Business School’s Sydney Business Insights initiative, Dr Sandra Peter.

“Automation will come with social costs and artificial intelligence is biased in the decisions that it makes,” Dr Peter told viewers of the popular ABC television program Q&A.

However, she said that robots “won’t kill us” or seek to take political control because “they don't give a damn about us and we can't teach them to.”

"I think that's where a lot of people get stuck on what (robots) can and can't do. There is a scenario in which they will come and kill us all but in reality science has spent 60 years teaching computers to recognise a cat - yet a robot still couldn't understand the intrinsic difference between a cat and a dog,” she said.

Dr Peter appeared on a special technology and the future of work edition of Q&A. Other panellists were the Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation & Science Craig Laundy, the Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy Ed Husic, Scientist Catherine Ball, and The University of Sydney’s Adam Spencer.

Sydney Business Insights is a University of Sydney Business School initiative which provides the business community and public, including our students, alumni, and partner organisations with an understanding of the complexities and insights into major issues and trends.

Visit here for the Q&A program in full.