Why Do We Need Robots : Survival

This is the last part of three in our series "Why Do We Need Robots?". The goal is to highlight the major reasons why robotics will be part of our future, and an essential one, by looking a bit further. While the democratization of robots is rendering them more and more present in our daily lives, most people have still mixed-feelings about the future. Many apocalyptic movies have depicted a future where either the robots are exterminating the humans or enslaving them. Few (or even none) have done the opposite. That is to say illustrating the benefits of a society full of robots, and its inevitability.

We looked at Demography and Artificial Intelligence. What if, ultimately, we needed robots to ensure our very own survival?

why do we need robots survival mankind space humanity beyond earthSpace Humanity Beyond Earth

Let's face it. We're doomed.

It's true and it's not a matter of being pessimistic, but rather being realistic about the outcome awaiting us and the rest of the life on Earth. Indeed, our planet has already faced 5 major mass extinctions :
  • 439 millions years ago : End Ordovician - 60% of marine invertebrates go extinct
  • 367 millions years ago : Late Devonian - 57% of marine invertebrates go extinct
  • 245 millions years ago : End Permian - 82% of marine invertebrates go extinct
  • 208 millions years ago : End Triassic - 53% of marine invertebrates go extinct
  • 65 millions years ago : End Cretaceous - 47% of marine invertebrates go extinct
Thus, we're bound to face another mass extinction in the future. Whether it will be due to circumstances beyond our control (like a giant asteroid) or the ones in our control (climate change). If we don't want to be the dinosaurs of the future, we'll have to leave our planet and create the first extra-terrestrial colony. But we can't do it alone.

Robots will be our settlers

Robots are already exploring the vastness of space for us. Whether as probes or as on-the-ground rovers, they help us get a better understanding of what's out there. Thanks to the progress in space travel, combined to those of robotics and artificial intelligence, the next generation will not be just scientific robots. No, the next generation or robots will be our settlers. They will be terra-forming a planet to make it habitable for a colony. Building the essential infrastructures for our survival : oxygen, water, and food generating systems. But also our homes, our roads, our communications network,... Essentially making the whole settling possible and realistic and working tirelessly to achieve their task.
robot space survival work terraformingRobot Space Survival Work Terraforming
We can't think of settling on another planet without these essential systems to sustain the first comers. Not only the task would be too large to be undertaken by a handful of humans, but the risk and burden would be too heavy to bear. Robots are what make the life beyond Earth, and thus our species survival, possible.
space x mars terraforming robotSpaceX

We need robots to help humanity bear the challenges of today and tomorrow

As we have seen in the previous two part of this series, robots will help us cope with the demography burden all countries will face after they complete their demographic transition. And as they get smarter, they will allow us to focus not on work and wealth production, but on self improvement and human connections. Last but not least, they will help ensure our species survive and thrive on another planet. Robots are not "nice to have" machines. They are mandatory, and we need them.
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