For “jobs too dirty, dangerous or dull,” robots excel.
There are three vacancies – one-third of the nine – on the City of Lakewood’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC).
Applicants must be “ethical, respectful and flexible” with the latter understood to mean willing to adhere to the inflexibility of the City Council and un-kept promises of city staff.
Robots – who, or which, meet the following conditions and qualifications – may apply.
First, for ethical rules please refer to the “Robot Legal Studies” guidelines as “some concern has been expressed over a possible occurrence of robots telling apparent falsehoods.”
Second, if appointed, be mindful of the risk to any humans on your committee. This pertains to the “Three Laws of Robotics: a robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; a robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; and a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.”
Third, only one robot per committee will be appointed to avoid observed swarm behavior among robots. A whole set of robots tend together to look for “something hidden, or spying.” Swarm intelligence is investigative, inquisitive, and cynical, pushes back screens, peers behind facades, and lifts rocks. And as such it challenges authority; is disruptive to the status quo; believes “to question is the answer” and this prying, distrusting, swarm behavior is antithetical and counterproductive to getting anything useless done and undermines those who are useless.
Please submit your resume to 6000 Main Street and if invited for an interview please come preassembled as much as possible as unattached appendages may prove later both costly to install – if parts are even available – and, if found, be otherwise inadvertently discarded as deemed unnecessary.
Applicants must be “able to navigate independently in known spaces, handle their own re-charging needs, interface with electronic doors and elevators and perform other basic tasks.”
Robotic applicants will receive favorable attention for significant “mechanical enhancements,” that is experience in “linking with networks, software and accessories that increase their usefulness.”
Otherwise basic skills require “recognition of people or objects; ability to talk, provide companionship, monitor environmental quality, respond to alarms, pick up supplies and perform other useful tasks.
“Intrinsically friendly and humane,” in other words.
Multi-tasking – by which is meant competency in performing “a variety of functions simultaneously or (assuming) different roles at different times of day” may on occasion be required and “the ability to mimic human beings and even resemble people in appearance” is most helpful especially if engaged at any time or in such a manner as to be considered providing customer service.
While it is initially understood that a robot cannot “actually navigate around a room that it has never been in,” nevertheless if appointed to serve on a committee in the city it is the expectation – in short order – that even a low level of “intelligent behavior (should characterize your) navigation in real time with other path planning and obstacle avoidance algorithms” once established in your new environment.
Please be apprised that you may be judged over-qualified if your previous robotic experience includes “exploring the inside of a volcano; exploring another planet; cleaning the inside of a long pipe; or performing laparoscopic surgery.”
It is anticipated that the most “high-level commands (will be) for items like image recognition and even opening doors.”
Simply put, robots with “vacuum cleaning and floor washing and lawn mowing” experience are encouraged to apply.
This is not, after all, rocket science. “Very little feedback or intelligence” is required.
What could possibly go wrong?
Given what already has?
When the Lakewood City Council by a vote of 4-3 this past February 18 – council members Marie Barth, Mike Brandstetter, Mary Moss and John Simpson comprising the majority – decided in favor of smoking in public parks, the council was at the same time rejecting the advice of the city’s Parks Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) which had recommended a ban.
Like robots which “have difficulty responding to unexpected interference,” the PRAB was relegated back to the assembly line where their environment could be tightly controlled.
When City Attorney Heidi Wachter promised on October 21, 2013 that the appropriate board – presumably the PSAC – would “properly consider” the changes recommended to the Police Department’s Use of Force Policy (UFP) as found wanting in police departments both across the country and also, as it turns out, lacking here locally in Lakewood, the City Council referenced the UFP not at all but rather in its directive to the PSAC for safety subjects to study placed shopping carts at the top of the list in anticipation of establishing an ordinance to include what to do with the contraptions once they’re found.
Since it is thus apparent that committees in Lakewood, as least in these two examples, are at best ornamental; and that their collective wisdom, not to mention research – if done – is presented to a City Council that is serenely imperturbable; then why should not robots assuming current-and-future openings on such committees not be applicable?
The results would be the same.
Heck, old Elektro himself could apply. Seven feet tall, 265 pounds, Elektro “could walk by voice command, speak about 700 words, blow up balloons, and move its head and arms.”
Even “smoke cigarettes.”
In the park even.
Committee members low on battery power could, if robots like “Elmer and Elsie,” find their own way to a recharging station.
Of course “being able to find power sources of their own,” is a robotic-development that concerned the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) – enough to call a conference in 2009 to consider the Frankenstein-like time when robots are smarter than humans and declare their autonomy.
Council members will want to continue to carefully monitor this most dangerous trend should important decisions be handed over to machines much less men.
But, for now, until robots take over the world, if a “collaborative robot or ‘cobot’ – which is a robot that can safely and effectively interact with human workers” – should become so independent-minded as to pose an industrial or environmental hazard to the rest of the committee – say swinging or pounding its robotic arm for emphasis during a debate – should any of those debates actually occur – a “prominent off switch” could be pushed if necessary by “its human partner.”
Then too “as robots become more advanced and sophisticated, experts and academics” – and elected representative-types – “(will want) increasingly (to) explore the questions of what ethics might govern robots’ behavior, and whether robots might be able to claim any kind of social, cultural, ethical or legal rights.”
Or whether robots should be compensated.
‘Robots United’ suggests a day when their union will protest at City Hall – like their human counterparts did recently – about salary surveys showing a tremendous number of robots dramatically underpaid.
Of course should this happen – like the politician whose mic was cut when he happened to mention his candidacy for office, so for robots – there’s always the “prominent off switch.”