We have long been aware of the potential threat of a robot uprising. Such eye-opening films as The Terminator and I, Robot have given the public no excuse for ignorance on this serious matter.
In an effort to further raise awareness and give the human race some small hope of survival, we recently interviewed Daniel H. Wilson, Ph.D. in robotics and author of the NY Times bestseller, Robopocalypse. Now we present to you his tips on how to survive a robot uprising.
Do you have any tips of your own? Help us keep the public informed—add them in the comments below.
Transcript: Jon Collins: A lot of people are worried about zombie attacks and vampires and other mythical creatures, but there's an actual possible threat that we at Epipheo want you to be ready for: a future robot uprising. So to talk about this threat, we brought in a Ph.D. in robotics and bestselling author, Daniel H. Wilson, and I asked him, "What is a robot?"
Daniel: A robot is any mechanical artifact that can sense the environment, think about what to do and then execute an action in the real world.
Jon: So what are some examples of robots that we're going to see in the future?
Daniel: Humanoid robots, autonomous cars, consumer robotics that do special purpose tasks in our homes, more and more pets that are robotic, and toys, smart environments that we live inside of. So the actual places where we live are going to start to notice where we're at and what we're doing.
Jon: So how would I know if a robot uprising was happening?
Daniel: You want to know what a robot's designed for, and if it's doing something that's outside the scope of what it was made to do, then you should be very suspicious. You know, you also want to look for the telltale signs that pop culture has warned us of, so glowing red eyes, spinning buzz saws for arms. Things like those are dead giveaways.
Jon: In the event of a robot uprising, what are some ways we can fight back?
Daniel: If you find yourself fighting a robot hand to hand, you're in real trouble, 'cause that's going to be an advanced humanoid robot. So you don't want to throw a punch at a robot, obviously. It's not made out of material that you're going to be able to harm. So your best bet is to arm yourself.
A good general purpose rule is to always go for the sensors. The robot'll use cameras or microphones to sense the environment, and although the robot itself might be very tough, the sensors can be either damaged or they can be tricked. Cameras are susceptible to flashes of light, things like that. Vision tracking systems are really cool, but what they do is they try to predict where you're going to be, so if you move in an unpredictable way, then it's gonna make the humanoid have to search harder for you. Whereas if it figures out what your velocity is, it's going to be able to just look at a few steps ahead every second and then spot you again.
And you have a lot of advantages in terms of running. Human beings are very dextrous mammals, typically much more dextrous than machines, which tend to be heavier and slower than people. So climb under a car, climb a tree, jump in water, swim. Humans are really adaptable to a wide range of environments, and machines are typically designed to operate in a narrow range of environments.
Jon: What if you want to do more than just run? What if you actually want to destroy some robots?
Daniel: Any well designed robot is gonna have what's called an emergency stop or a kill switch. Typically in the lab these look literally like big red buttons that you push. But you gotta remember that a lot of times even when you hit a kill switch you could be in danger, because that machine's now going to be inactive. If it's big, it might fall over and crush you. If it's carrying something valuable, it might drop that. So you know you gotta think ahead.
Jon: So lastly, I think, is, uh, giant walking robots. These are probably going to be a problem sometime in our lifetime. At least I hope so. So how do you take these down?
Daniel: A giant walker is gonna have to have very lightweight legs, and so this makes the legs a prime target for you as a person. So if you have a gun or some kind of weapon, you want to attack the joints of a giant walker.
And the higher up that you get it, you know, the better. Because if you can sever an entire leg, it's going to be much more helpless than if you just take off a foot. Because remember, a robot doesn't feel pain, and it can quickly adapt to locomoting with a new set of constraints.
Jon: Well, there you go. There's a little bit of information about how to survive a robot uprising. If you want to learn more, check out his book, and godspeed.