When ROS Film Festival, the first robotic online short film festival, started to become a reality, one of the first things we thought we had to do was talking to friends and experts who could give us their particular vision about the robots universe.
They are experts from different professional spheres such as Science, Art, Communication or Culture, but they have one thing in common: their relationship to a greater or lesser extent with the world of robotics and artificial intelligence. On top of that, some of them will be part of the jury of this first edition of ROS Film Festival.
All of them answered our particular robotic questionnaire, so we can take a closer look at their concerns about the future relationship between humans and robots. They answered these three questions in particular: How will we interact with robots? Do you think they will ever be self-aware and emancipate from humans? What will being human mean in a highly technological future?
In response to the first question, several of the experts agree that the relationship between humans and robots will be almost the same as with other people. Regarding this, the industrial engineer and expert in robotics for more than 20 years, Jordi Ojeda, says that “the relationship with robots will be very natural and security measures will ensure that there is no problem.” Enrique Varela, President of FUNTESO, claims to be quite relaxed in this sense since “robots will be designed by humans, so in the end they will have more or less human reactions.”
Moreover, many of the interviewees remind us that we are already continually interacting with robots that help us simplify our lives, such as domestic robots or Siri, Apple’s personal assistant. According to Miquel Barceló, aeronautical, nuclear and aerospace engineer with a PhD in computer science, “when robots become more complete AI and understand our language, we will give them orders with words.”
“A time will come when they will help us at home, take care of dependents and play a very important role in industry, though they are already doing it today,” says Jon Ander Gómez, an expert on AI and lecturer at the Technical University of Valencia. In this sense, Rosa Montero, journalist and novelist, says that the fact that robots take jobs from humans is a “reality which is difficult to handle.” “Let us accept that robots will be like us and they will be able to think like us in a not too distant future, the important thing is knowing how we are going to interact“, points out Santiago Bustamante, Director of Radio 3 programme Fallo de Sistema.
On self-awareness and possible future emancipation of robots, Jordi Sánchez Navarro, lecturer at the UOC and programmer of the Anima’t section of the Sitges Festival, says that it is unavoidable to reach this situation: “Robots will stop being our slaves, I do not know if humans will become – as some science fiction stories predict – the slaves of robots, but we must negotiate new ways of interacting with robots when they become self-aware.” Concha Monje, who works in the field of Robotics at UC3M, is certain that in the future humans and robots will treat each other as equals, although she points out that “the real degree of awareness they achieve is something else, as that is very difficult to measure and define even at a human level “.
Ricardo Iglesias, who teaches Audiovisuals and Interactive Systems at the University of Barcelona, believes that humans will increasingly integrate with the robotic element and that robots will become more and more humanized. As for Fernando Broncano, lecturer at UC3, he is certain that they will be able to implement different levels of awareness, such as “self-monitoring of their own system, their relationship with the environment or certain things similar to emotions.”
Other experts like Carlos Balaguer, Professor of Robotics at UC3M, do not think that robots will be able to become self-aware: “if we compare ourselves with human evolution we would not even be in the Stone Age, with the technology that we have today it will not be possible. “