How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Robot Apocalypse

In an on-screen parallel universe, not too different from our own, today marks the anniversary of when an artificial intelligence system called Skynet became self-aware, deemed humanity a threat, and ultimately unleashed scores of Austrian-accented robot assassins on the world to destroy or enslave us.




Meanwhile, in our own universe, a recent study suggests that we might actually prefer taking instructions from a robot rather than our human counterparts. The folks at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab studied groups of two humans and one robot in a variety of scenarios and found that the test subjects preferred to receive instructions from the robot rather than the other human. The subjects felt the machines “better understood them” and “improved the efficiency of the team.” Though the study doesn’t explicitly state this, we think the robot’s aversion to stealing lunches from the break room fridge have also played a role. (C’mon, guys. My name was clearly marked on the spaghetti leftovers!)


Imagine if the brilliant men and women of our own HP Labs decided to start taking their marching orders from the hardware and software that they work on, like the ambitious uber-computer The Machine, and those awesome Lego robots that future scientists in England built for a contest we hosted .


Could they expect the following top-priority request?


Could a certain Sarah Connor of Los Angeles get in touch with us immediately? We’ve been trying to find her for some time now. She’s …um… won a top-secret sweepstakes or something? Yeah. That’s the ticket!


Just come on over to our headquarters and claim your prize, Sarah. Thanks!

Search The Next Bench
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Do you mean 
About the Author