Saturday, March 5, 2016

Get ready for our first civil war against robots - here's what it will look like.

Clearly we are already in a world in which robots are an integral part of war.  Nations use robots to fight against each other and against terrorists.

So far, however, we have not had a civil war against our own robots - against the robots who serve us. But that civil war against our servant robots is coming.  And sooner rather than later.

The first civil war against our own robots will be the battle against driverless trucks, which are, of course, robots.

In France, taxi drivers protested against uber.  It got violent.  The taxi drivers face losing their income to this disruptive force.

But the French taxis drivers protest has three constraints that prevent it turning into an all out war:

  • The first constraint is that it's not easy to identify an Uber car - they look like any other car, so it's hard to target them.  
  • The second constraint is that even if Uber cars could be easily identified, there's a natural reluctance to direct violence at them because Uber drivers are people and there are significant consequences for directing violence at another person.
  • The third constraint is that whilst there are alot of taxi drivers, there's not a huge number of them.  Wikipedia says that in the United States in 2012 there were 233,900 taxi drivers.

The war against robot trucks will have no such constraints.

  • Driverless trucks are big and hard to hide, and they have no driver, which makes them easy to spot and thus easy targets. They are unprotected.
  • There are no people in driverless trucks, so if done carefully, they can be attacked with minimal risk of hurting humans. The consequences of violence against robots are not as harsh as the consequences of violence against humans (yet).
  • According to the American Trucking Association there are over 3 million truck drivers in the U.S.A.  That's alot of potential "combatants" against the robots.

Driverless trucks will mean that alot of people lose everything, and when people have nothing to lose they become more willing to respond in an extreme manner.

There will be a war against driverless trucks.  It's gonna be a big one.  It will certainly be explosive and it's coming to the streets near you.

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