Last year Gary Gygax passed. This year Dave Arneson. These are the two men responsible for creating D&D and pretty much starting a hobby I love. I got to meet the man last year and watch him speak briefly. He was a very funny and smart man and he will be missed.
So time for the chilling note. I am a man who believes in the power of our ingenuity and knowledge. Humans are brought to a better life often through our progress. We eat more regularly. We live longer. Our lives are more comfortable than those of our ancestors. We have almost all of the knowledge in the world at our fingertips.
The problem is the double edge. Technology also complicates our lives and in someways makes us less safe. Yes we have all the food we could want, and we endanger our health because we are not conditioned to deal with that availability of food. Our lives are more comfortable, but we don't know how to survive without our technological wonders. Science takes us to a place we thought beyond reach. Only after we get there do we think to ask if we should have gone there.
And now the robots.
Here is a TED conference speech about robots being used for war. We can spare our soldiers from hazardous duties by sending machines. Speaking as someone who has friends over in the middle east or heading over, I have to say it is appealing. Sadly as anyone who is a SciFi nut will tell you, having robots fight your wars can lead to problems. To paraphrase the speaker, a machine has no contextual awareness of the difference between a tank and a grandmother. It will not care.