Technological Resistance?

Article: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9241038/U.S._Army_foresees_robots_becoming_squad_members?taxonomyId=128&pageNumber=1

Trust is a major part of humanity.  It dictates how we perceive and interact with those around us.  When we trust someone, we are more likely to allow that person to govern or command certain events in our own daily life.  On the contrary, when we don’t or when we have a feeling of “there’s something up with this person that just doesn’t sit well” chances are, we’ll keep our distance.

trust

This same human trait is generally what keeps certain technology from entering our lives.  For the most part, I don’t agree with this mentality.  I see it as being a change for the better.  People usually fear what they don’t understand and generally speaking, people don’t understand change.  In my opinion, this holds true with technology as well.

When a new technology is implemented such as Microsoft’s Windows 7, certain individuals just didn’t like it.  They complained about how Windows 7 was not XP; therefore they just didn’t like it.  There was no other reason, I kid you not.  This is what I heard almost on a daily basis as an IT Helpdesk Manager and I have to admit there were times when I was in the same boat.  I felt the same as everyone else about Windows 7.  In a way, I didn’t like it.

hammerpc

As I began conducting more in-depth research as to what Windows 7 had to offer versus what XP offered at the time, I started to realize that Windows 7 was a good change for X Y and Z reasons.  I began experimenting with Windows 7 in a virtual machine loaded on my laptop and quickly found value in many of the new features it had to offer.  Having gathered this information I now had a short list of benefits (a repertoire as I referred to it with my colleagues) as to why my end users should embrace Windows 7 upgrades on their desktop machines.

Deep down inside I knew it was time to move on to the next evolutionary step.  XP was getting old and in my opinion Microsoft wasn’t doing enough to address certain issues such as the ability to easily manage power settings throughout an enterprise or providing a more robust built-in spyware solution.  With Windows 7 we got both of these and more.

As time passed and we all started acclimating to Windows 7, we slowly began realizing that Windows 7 wasn’t so bad.  We started accepting and trusting Windows 7 into our daily workflow.  Now don’t get me wrong, as far as the Operating System as a whole is concerned, I feel Microsoft hit the nail on the head when they released Windows XP service pack 2.  It was solid.  Many would agree it was as close to a perfect OS that Microsoft has gotten but Windows 7 does have some great functionality built-in that makes it stand out over XP.

xp-vs-7

This same mentality of acceptance is not exclusively limited to the Corporate USA ecosystem.  It transcends out to any environment where a technology is introduced and branded as being helpful or even life-saving.  No matter how much hype a technology has, the reality is that before we can trust a new technology and consequently accept it, it must prove itself as a valuable and worthy component of our daily life.

There is no other place in the world where this trust relationship with technology has a greater impact than out on the battle field.  Yes, I’m talking about Afghanistan.  On the front line, soldiers going head-to-head, toe-to-toe with terrorist regimes.

Robotics and artificial intelligence is evolving to the point where we may soon be replacing soldiers with fully fledged “T2” terminator-style autonomous soldiers.  Well, not really but, we’re getting there quick.  At the moment, there are semi-autonomous robots resembling beefy radio controlled vehicles that are assisting our soldiers in combat.

I mention “semi-autonomous” because in reality the soldier has the choice of either having full, semi or zero control over their robotic team members however before they can relinquish control over their companion, they really have to trust its performance.  Soldiers in combat already have a lot on their shoulders.  Think about it:  At any given moment, they can be shot dead or blown up by a road-side IED.  Along with that, they have the added stress of a new robot squad member who hasn’t proven itself in a battle situation.  Really?  I guess in this scenario, I can totally understand not being comfortable with a new technology.  It’s literally a matter of life or death.

talon-swords

I’m confident that one day we will all have robot companions assisting us throughout our days however, those days are a long way out.  Do you remember when the first actual PDA was introduced in to the market?  Better yet, do you remember when they first started gaining popularity?  I know many who would say “why do I need a personal assistant?”  Uhmm, hello?!  How many of us have a smart phone today?  It was just a matter of time until the PDA or smart phone proved to be valuable to us.  I see robots progressing in much the same manner.  How much control are you willing to give your PRA (or as I’m referring to them as a personal robotic assistant)?

Happy reading my friends!

Isai.

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