Bodhisagar visited a conference on ‘legged robotics’ at ETH, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
As I am writing this article, I am in my hotel room looking over the Limmat river, which I so patently ignored for the past four days. I am here in Zurich for a conference on ‘legged robotics’, a new species of machines, which we want to be sentient, mobile, able to move through all terrains and hopefully self-aware. So, welcome our new slaves or overlords, whichever side you choose.
Since 1985 Honda has been busy secretly building its engineering miracle ‘Asimo‘ a humanoid robot, which it unveiled at the beginning of this century. Over the last decade numerous robotics companies and university research centers have emerged, and last year with search giant Google buying almost all the high-end companies, we are sure robotics is the next thing to look for and the Robots are coming.
I was literally scared
of the unimaginably
that is about to arrive.
These machines have low level capacity to process information as compared to humans, however, with their precision and infinite capacity to work, they are expected to acquire human jobs, they are mechanically more strong, they don’t complain and above all they follow your orders. And just as life, there are all sorts of variants, humanoids, spiders, kangaroo, flying quadropters, micro robots, and even fem-bots. Here are images of some of the machines that I got to see.
But, more than getting excited and impressed by the engineering ingenuity that they exhibit, I was literally scared of the unimaginably mechanistic future that is about to arrive. More than scientific endeavor, curiosity and creativity, this research is motivated by commercial interests and profit lines. The heart of the research lies in more efficient delivery of Pizza, providing more luxury, more ways to entertain us, further fuelling materialism and mechanistic life, and in turn further more exploitation of our planet and natural resources bringing out some kind of human dystopia. They will give us still enhanced ways to erase and process the Amazon rain forests and simultaneously and on time, ‘Amazon’ delivery. They will help us maybe to colonize other planets, but the rampant materialism that they will fuel will surely render our planet as an uninhabitable garbage trash can.
This said, I am not advocating to stop the research or scrap the commercial interests, it’s not them, it’s us. As Osho said,
We are on the threshold of something new
that is going to happen to humanity.
Either humanity will die and disappear,
or we will take a jump, a leap,
and a new being will be formed.”
The Diamond Sutra, Ch 9
We need a better, more conscious humanity, before we become so much more powerful, we need to have that shift in consciousness. Before materialism engulfs the planet along with us, we need a more meditative humanity. Before they come, we need to have moved on. Or maybe perhaps, one day, they will teach us, that we are not them, that we are aware, we are conscious, we are alive, we are – Humans.
Related discourse It Is a Time of Crisis…
Bodhisagar was born in Pune, India, and is currently doing his PhD in Robotics at Bournemouth University, England. After experiencing a satori looking at the night sky, he set out on his quest to find truth. He went to England in order to find the truth within the human brain; he worked as a researcher in Brain-Computer interfacing and studied Cybernetics. With all stones turned and left unanswered by science he took sannyas in 2013 in Wales, England. xspiritualatheist.wordpress.com