Science fiction never felt so real before. I experienced this in the Law school at Cornell University. Yes, I did say Law School. I just came back from the talk titled ‘Law of Robots’ by Ed Walters, the CEO of Fastcase. I was not sure about the agenda when I was invited to the talk, nonetheless I went (free refreshments were one of the motivating factors). The Director of Law School introduced Ed to us. My friend and I gaped at the long list of Ed’s accomplishments.
During the first few minutes, I realized that the talk would be on his thoughts about imposing laws on Robots. Exposed to many awesomeness online and at campus here, initially I did not ridicule about this idea and maintained my status of being a good listener. Speaking of Moore’s law, IBM’s supercomputers beating people in Chess and Jeopardy, Ed finally came to something called “Robotic Revolution” which according to him succeeds industrial revolution and information revolution. In order to convince the audience about this revolution, he frequently quoted examples of autonomous robots including Google self-driving cars and drones.
With the help of Moore’s law he stressed on the fact that technologically, world is really changing in exponential ways and this time, we the humans (or let’s say lawmakers) will be left behind in the race. The real world scenarios he gave were really convincing. Not even once did I think that the idea of making law for robots was too early or foolish to be thought about. One of the examples that I really loved was this –
“Imagine a self-driving car in a situation wherein it has to choose over colliding into a school bus to getting itself crushed under a huge uncontrollable trailer. In this case should it be programmed to avoid putting children’s lives in jeopardy and allow itself to be destroyed or save its owner?” Although this is an ethical question, I understood what sense speaker was trying to make. Beautifully and logically he sailed through the topic, making us feel that the future is now, and that these things are not just fiction anymore.
Earlier in the day, we also had a chance to interact with Amit Singhal, director of search at Google. It was an amazing experience seeing him in our information retrieval class, where he answered few of the students questions. I have been feeling that I am more close to technology and innovation since I came here. The things which I saw on internet or imagined seems more real than ever. Maybe this is the perk people talk about studying in a world class university. I had a dream to pursue my studies at a big campus, and Cornell is realizing my dreams in the ways more than I can ever ask for. Waiting to be surprised any moment !!!!