TECH

Robot Traffic Wardens Pictured In Enthusiastic New Concept Art

19/01/2015 16:35 GMT | Updated 19/01/2015 16:59 GMT

Bristling with metal armour, huge yellow-black boots and piercing purple eyes, it stands in a classic pose of aggression and strength. It must weigh two tons at least, and yet it appears as nimble as a gymnast -- and ready at a moment's notice to prove it.

"Ticket please," it says.

You fumble helplessly for your parking ticket. You knew you put it somewhere…

"TICKET please," it repeats in a droning monotone.

"I, er…"

"DESTROY."

All else is light, smoke and release.

Welcome to the age of the robot traffic warden... concept image.

barcroft

The image was supplied - along with a nice one of a man with a robot cat, and a press release about SyFy's new TV series Extant - to illustrate one scientist's serious prediction that many jobs could be replaced by humans within 50 years.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock said that while "all this may seem the stuff of science fiction, but actually when you look more closely, science fiction has often led the way for technology development.

“Look at Captain Kirk’s communicator and tell me that it’s not a mobile phone - and his system probably did less than the latest smartphones we have today.”

She added that for many robots would become the preferred option for interaction with services like health, leisure and relaxation as well as admin and bureaucracy.

barcroft

“Which would you prefer to be in the hands of an overworked, underpaid, disenfranchised worker doing long hours for minimum pay, or a therapeutic robot designed to respond to your every need and engage with you intelligently no matter how many times you have asked the same question?

“Imagine then, that this unit has access to relevant information about an individual’s past, so it can respond to and converse with the person; finding ways to simulate their thinking as well as monitoring vital signs in order to flag changes early.”

These images of the future of AI were commissioned to celebrate the launch of new TV series Extant, which starts on Tuesday 20 January at 9pm on Syfy.

Some have said these changes could be catastrophic for the (human) economy, but Dr Aderin-Pocock is more positive. "History has shown that the advance of technology often leaves us free to explore new avenues and we have adapted accordingly,” she said.