From the "digestive duck" to the Ford conveyor
Of course, it all started with the eternal dream - not to work. It is tempting to imagine that people will devote themselves to self-development, and all the routine, hard work will be done by the robots they create.
By the way, the word “robot” was invented not by scientists, but by science fiction writers. It came into use in the 20s of the twentieth century thanks to the works of the brothers Karl and Joseph Čapek.
The first mentions of mechanical beings relate to around 400 BC. er A certain Archite from Tarentum, a Greek mathematician, was supposedly able to create a mechanical pigeon that was lifted into the air. If at that time such an invention was possible, then most likely the pigeon was raising steam.
It is believed that the first drawing of a human-like robot was made by Leonardo da Vinci. In 1950, his drawing was dated to 1495. The great Leonardo designed the metal knight who could perform simple hand manipulations and move his head.
In 1737, the Frenchman Jacques de Vaucanson created a human model that played 12 pieces on the flute. Inside the "flutist" were furs and springs that fed air into the instrument. But the inventor has glorified the so-called "digestive duck", collected two years later. The mechanical bird consisted of almost 400 parts. Ducks pecked grain, drank water and allegedly digested the food that emerged from the corresponding hole in the form of excrement. In fact, the statement about the "digestion" was an exaggeration: the peeled grains and water fell into one container, and the "excreta" at the right moment was removed from the others.
And in 1769, Wolfgang von Kempelen struck Vienna with his “chess Turk”. Wax "player" in exotic clothes sat at the chessboard. Before the session, the public was given the opportunity to get acquainted with the device of the device, consisting of a set of components and parts. In fact, the main element of this design was a live person, an experienced chess player who led the game. A system of mirrors located at different angles hid it from the public eye. Kempelen “started” his mechanical player after every twenty moves - in fact, this maneuver was needed so that the chess player could think about further moves. The figures on the board moved with the help of strong magnets.
At the end of the 19th century in Russia, the mathematician Pafnuti Chebyshev made a number of calculations and derived formulas that allow the design of moving mechanisms. Based on them, he created his own “stopping” - a mechanism imitating the movement of animals.
With the exception of Chebyshev's work, which was later used in many mechanisms, all the described “robots” were rather toys for the fun of the public. In mass production, they did not go.
Paphnuti L. Chebyshev
The very first real robots used in enterprises were not at all like humans. They came from the light hand of Henry Ford, who was thinking about automating his production. So in 1930, the first conveyors, equipped with mechanical manipulators. Thanks to these robots, cars have become available to almost every American family.
Robots have not yet been, and humanity has already frightened them. Karl Čapek’s play “RUR” was written in 1920, ten years before the first manipulators were made on Ford’s conveyors. It is about the company that manufactures robots for the needs of mankind. It is noteworthy that the playwright not only came up with the word “robot”, but also anticipated such a thing as a robot-android. The robots in the play are not metal and plastic. In the story, people invented a way to create identical human tissues, and the nerves for robots "spun" like a thread. And of course, the robots in the play revolt and exterminate their creators. The motive for the rebellion of the mechanisms is purely human - "we do not want to be servants, we want to rule you."
With the development of robotics, horror stories multiplied and became more complex. In 1975, the film “Stepford Wives” was shot (after the novel of the same name by Ira Levin). The main character of the picture moves with her husband to a small town. Here she meets a variety of women who are united by perfect beauty and a frenzy of love for domestic matters. Soon the heroine discovers that a few years ago, Stepford's wives participated in public life and were not so zealous housewives. While the woman is conducting her own investigation, her husband actively communicates with Stepford husbands. And when the heroine realizes that the women of the town are human-like robots, her husband realizes that a living woman as a wife is extremely uncomfortable. In general, in the cordial circle of ideal Stepford wives one more newly-hen housewife appears.
Subsequently, the creative thought of writers and screenwriters went even further. In the cult "Matrix" the machine not only controls life, but also climbs into consciousness, forming reality.
So, if at the beginning of the last century, people recognized that robots can be stronger than them, then at the beginning of this one they are worried that machines may turn out to be smarter than their creators.
Artificial Intelligence as a Fundamental Threat
Cars that do not need a driver, drone drones, robots performing the most complicated surgical interventions - all this is already a reality. In our lives, we increasingly rely on cars. But what if they rebel?
More than 50 years ago, the British mathematician Alan Turing developed a test. People communicated via keyboard with specially programmed machines and with other people. The participants in the experiment tried to determine who was talking to them. It turned out that “declassifying” the machines is not so easy - they perfectly imitate human logic and lead the conversation. Later, another program was created that mimics the thinking of schizophrenic patients. The professional psychiatrists who tested it were mistaken: they could not distinguish the answers of real patients from the answers of the program.
However, the imitation of human thinking is not the process of thinking itself. According to specialists, machines capable of learning themselves and, more importantly, changing themselves in the process of learning, should appear in the period from 2025 to 2030.
Futurologists agree on one thing - we expect a spasmodic growth of technology. If the creation of the first robotic manipulators and their development took almost 90 years, the revolution in the field of artificial intelligence can occur in 10-15 years.
What hinders the creation of artificial intelligence now? The machine must learn and analyze a huge amount of information. The whole world around us needs to be digitized and loaded into the appropriate cells. Modern chips the size of a few millimeters is still too large and imperfect for such a volume. However, now the world is in full swing working on laser information transmission systems and chip improvements. There are also developments in the field of self-charging systems that do not require external power sources. By the way, in old science fiction novels, heroes often escaped from cars, just waiting for them to discharge. The technology of the next generation so simply will not fail. She will repair herself, and she will master new skills without the help of her creators.