Point of No Return — If you really want to screw up, call a human

Date Published: 
April 7, 2017

Chemical attack in Syria. Suicide bombing in Russia. North Korea fires off another missile.

A recent tour of news around the world can make a person want to crawl back into bed, pull the covers over his or her eyes and just hope this is all a bad dream. It’s a helpless feeling to watch people suffer, mourn and die due to the selfish and cruel actions of others without having any ability to aid them, and, even if one did have the power or resources to assist... how?


Starting a GoFundMe page is great for people trying to get help with medical expenses or trying to rally after a fire or storm, but does it do anything to help with bombs falling from the sky? Or maniacal nutjobs blowing themselves up at subway stations?

The world needs a hero, or I’m afraid future generations will be studying World War III in their history books — or on cave drawings if we blast ourselves back into the Stone Age. Of course, if someone did rise up from some corner of the planet with a plan and the ability to make real change, well, let’s face the harsh reality — other people would certainly foul it up, out of either jealousy, incompetence or greed.

Humanity: Screwing It Up Since the Garden of Eden.

We can’t help ourselves, can we? For as long as people have been roaming this world — searching for love, heat, shelter, water or food — someone else has been right there to either take it away from them or figure out a way to price them out of it. And then those who feel oppressed eventually fight back, ultimately get smashed for their efforts and the beat goes on and on and on and on.

This is not a political piece, by any means. It’s not even an American observation, or North American, for that matter. It’s simply pointing out that human beings have been sticking it to fellow human beings for as long as we can tell.

So, where do we turn for answers? Do we simply say silent prayers when we hear of atrocities around the globe and thank God that it happened elsewhere this time and not in our laps? Or, do we just finally acknowledge that human beings basically stink in regards to how we treat each other, do our best and just try to take care of what we can take of in our own little worlds?

If you have the answers, please share them.

There just has to be an algorithm a super computer could run that would best answer how to ensure that the world will live in reasonable peace, people would be fed and clean water would be available to all.

I’m not talking about some kind of socialist utopia where everybody has equal possessions, regardless of their contributions to society, but where people have their basic needs met that would maybe allow them to raise their families with dignity and in sanitary conditions, while being able to observe and practice their faiths without interference. However, I’m fairly certain that a human being would find a way to step in, manipulate the data and dominate others in all new and exciting ways, and that some small percentage of religious leaders would create an atmosphere that led to his or her congregation rallying together to stomp out all other faiths. Unless...

Robots.

Really cool robots with laser-beam eyes, the ability to fly and bottle openers on their necks. They would be able to cut the grass, do your grocery shopping and change your baby in the middle of the night, all while disseminating vast amounts of information and programming computers to put us on a path of fairness, peace and prosperity — while promoting a capitalist world where people get rewarded for their actions and innovations.

Oh, this is just too good. I started looking for outfits that would go well with my upcoming Nobel Peace Prize when I came across an article that contained a bit of a nugget that would give me pause on how realistic this plan of mine really is — hands.

You see, people who are pioneers in the world of robotics appear to be struggling a bit with the concept of hands. Well, fingers, to be precise.

“Manipulation, in many ways, is one of the final frontiers in robotics,” explained Carnegie Mellon professor Howie Choset in a story on nbcnews.com.

The actual story focused on how robots have been replacing people in the workforce over recent years, and will do so even more in the future. However, the anatomy of the human hand is very difficult to replicate, so at this time robots can not do things on an acute level that requires fine motor skills.

Amir Shapiro, a robotocist at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, said that creating a robot hand with more than 20 motors to replicate the fingers and joints of a hand would weigh down the end of the arm, creating a problem for the scientists trying to program each movement.

Wait. Robotocist? That’s a thing? I think I finally found a job that sounds cooler than Federal Bikini Inspector at the beach. Of course, one could theoretically combine the two jobs and form one amazing career of...

But I digress.

As nice as it would seem to believe that a computer or robot could take a hard analytical look at the world and fix all its troubles without the influence of nationalism, emotion or political allegiance, it’s not happening anytime soon, and not just because they have a hard time tying shoes without those aforementioned motor skills.

It’s because they still require humans to program and manage them. And humans don’t have the best track record of taking care of other humans.