I argue in this essay that we should be leery of embracing ubiquitous use of robots in society. Once the technology is deployed it will be too late to go back. I identify a view which I call "robot panglossianism" — the view that robots are a complete, or almost complete, social good. I think that this view, at least in its extreme form, is dangerously naïve. Having suggested that building human-like robots is "playing God." I suggest two arguments for significant concern about the introduction of ubiquitous robots: 1) that practical problems might make such robots impossible outside of the movie theatre, and 2) that the likely economic and social disorder caused by this new disruptive technology is so great that this may be a change that we want to stop before we get to a point were we cannot go back.
Subjects: 6. Computer-Human Interaction; 17. Robotics
Submitted: May 17, 2006