Human Compatibility with Robomatics: A New Enduring Consciousness

*Ossification: a tendency toward or state of being molded into a rigid, conventional, sterile, or unimaginative condition.

Two of my recent blog articles, Nurturing Nature, and An All Digital, Deep Space Voyage have included concerns and commentary about the rise in the use of automation and robotics. This is not meant to imply that either automation or robotics are a threat or bad for humankind. What is of both concern and importance is how humankind manages those developments to its best advantage.

We have already seen evidence of situations where humans have been lulled into dulled attentiveness within an automated or robotically controlled environment. Yes, a good bit of it has been in the form of science-fiction which tends to promote fear and not reason. In reality, though, we have also learned of situations where failed or malfunctioning systems have led to catastrophic events including the loss of human life. Emergency detection and warning systems that fail are one example, another are automated control systems that suddenly fail.

In many instances of these failures serious damages or loss of life are avoided due to the alert and rapid intervention by humans. What happens if there are no humans around; only robots monitoring robots? The risks, if any, would all depend upon the particular automated environment. The higher the risk of a chained failure the more important it is to have immediate and alert human monitoring and intervention. If the environment requires human presence then we must address the real problem of decreasing alertness. Do we depend solely on robotics to alert the human to problems?

Interactive compatibility: The critical challenge: By interactive compatibility we are referring to the increasing high-tech relationships between humans and robomatic (automation + robotics) systems. The word active has always been a critical element. We find it is both expensive and hazardous to take a casual or even indifferent view of our duties in monitoring and adjusting robomatic systems. Compatibility relates directly to the fitness of the human counterpart for these responsibilities. In our view the ongoing, successful interactive compatibility between NASA’s scientists/engineers/technicians and the many robomatic systems they have launched and continue to monitor exists as a key role model for the future.

Compatibility also embraces the engineering design of the various spacecraft that NASA/JPL has created. These spacecraft are not simply pre-programmed systems, they are, in essence, alive and maintain contact with their human counterparts. This is most remarkably illustrated by the very alive and far away Voyager craft, the gleeful explorer-craft Cassini, and, of course, the Mars rovers. Yes, there are many more in the list. The foregoing are just newsbreaker examples. The future with its rapid growth of robomatic systems on Earth and in space will demand entirely new perspectives in areas of scientific and high-tech education/training. This will be especially critical when those relationships between robomatic systems and humans span centuries. Contact with deep space systems will, of necessity, become trans-generational.

Transgenerational interactivity with deep, deep space robomatic systems will introduce an entirely new array of sci-tech skills that become a culture. Yes, a highly scientifically oriented culture is essential for humankind’s growing interrelationship with the Cosmos and with all the exploratory craft we both send and command into that awesome arena. Great grandfather, grandfather, father, son, and so forth will be an uninterruptable and contiguous chain of scientific and technical competence that will carry humankind safely into distant galactic environments and worlds. There will be no room in this culture for regressive or unimaginative thinking. In fact, it will not even exist.

A scary future? For some of us now, it could very well be. This is because our education and with it the encouragement to think creatively has generally been underdeveloped. For others this could appear as a defiance of spirituality whereas in reality it will be an entirely new and highly consoling spirituality. Finally there are no longer any doubts about our status as people in what will become an immense cosmic reality. We feel welcome. We are made whole by this awareness and become joyfully at peace. The power and glory of the cosmos is within us and we are welcome participants in the discovery of all that it is. Lastly, we will finally achieve that great meet-up with other life-forms and fully rejoice that it is certain we are not and will never be alone.

The following video of a talk by Arthur C. Clarke in the 20th century predicting our future in this century is highly relevant because of the accuracy of his predictions. The forward evolution of humankind he predicts is and will continue to progress. So, unleash your minds and let them begin to explore all that surrounds us. You will be warmly welcomed.