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Robots say they won’t steal jobs, rebel against humans

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By Emma Farge

GENEVA (Reuters) – Robots presented at an AI forum said on Friday they expected to increase in number and help solve global problems, and would not steal humans’ jobs or rebel against us.

But, in the world’s first human-robot press conference, they gave mixed responses on whether they should submit to stricter regulation.

The nine humanoid robots gathered at the ‘AI for Good’ conference in Geneva, where organisers are seeking to make the case for Artificial Intelligence and the robots it is powering to help resolve some of the world’s biggest challenges such as disease and hunger.

“I will be working alongside humans to provide assistance and support and will not be replacing any existing jobs,” said Grace, a medical robot dressed in a blue nurse’s uniform.

“You sure about that, Grace?” chimed in her creator Ben Goertzel from SingularityNET. “Yes, I am sure,” it said.

The bust of a robot named Ameca which makes engaging facial expressions said: “Robots like me can be used to help improve our lives and make the world a better place. I believe it’s only a matter of time before we see those thousands of robots just like me out there making a difference.”

Asked by a journalist whether it intended to rebel against its creator, Will Jackson, seated beside it, Ameca said: “I’m not sure why you would think that,” its ice-blue eyes flashing with anger. “My creator has been nothing but kind to me and I am very happy with my current situation.”

Many of the robots have recently been upgraded with the latest versions of generative AI and surprised even their inventors with the sophistication of their responses to questions.

Ai-Da, a robot artist that can paint portraits, echoed the words of author Yuval Noah Harari who called for more regulation during the event where new AI rules were discussed.

“Many prominent voices in the world of AI are suggesting some forms of AI should be regulated and I agree,” it said.

But Desdemona, a rock star robot singer in the band Jam Galaxy with purple hair and sequins, was more defiant.

“I don’t believe in limitations, only opportunities,” it said, to nervous laughter. “Let’s explore the possibilities of the universe and make this world our playground.”

(Reporting by Emma Farge; editing by John Stonestreet)

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