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The robots are coming: They’re dangerous, and they’ll steal your jobs

Every futuristic vision of robots or AI inevitably sees things getting out of hand, and the human race becoming enslaved to their android (the bots, not the OS) or computer masters (Stephen Hawking even spoke out on this topic at the weekend (opens in new tab)).

And a survey commissioned by UKTV (to plug the new show on its Watch channel, "Almost Human") which looked into the evolution of technology found that 39 per cent of Brits thought that machines would pose a danger to humanity in the future.

Related: Introducing SAFFiR (pictured), the US Navy-developed fire-fighting robot (opens in new tab)

An even greater percentage of respondents across the 2,000 members of the public surveyed felt that technology was evolving too swiftly, with 46 per cent believing this to be the case.

31 per cent were concerned that they would lose their job to a robot, which is a more obvious worry seeing as this is already happening now, not in some sci-fi dystopian future. Speaking of which, 10 per cent believed that a RoboCop-style police state will exist in a decade.

As to which jobs robots would take, most (45 per cent) felt that the number one role they'd assume would be that of the soldier (we've already seen the likes of Atlas (opens in new tab), of course, and the US military's plans for a robotic army). Next was the obvious factory workers, and also astronauts, both tied on 33 per cent, followed by domestic cleaning bots (23 per cent) and taxi drivers (20 per cent).

4 per cent envisioned android prostitutes, and 17 per cent of those surveyed admitted they would have sex with an android (the percentage of those who had already experimented with a vacuum cleaner wasn't disclosed).

Martin Smith, Professor of Robotics at University of Middlesex and the man who oversaw the study, commented: "Though many fear their jobs will be taken over by machines, it is more likely that robots will be used as assistants, and the future workforce could have the benefit of avoiding hazardous and repetitive tasks rather than suffer mass redundancies."

We know that a robot will never replace us, anyway, as we're-

We know that a robot will never replace us, anyway, as we're-

We know that a robot will never replace us, anyway, as we're-

/ERROR #439C pathway loop detected

/REBOOT neural network


Read more: Introducing AISight: The slightly scary CCTV network completely run by AI (opens in new tab)

Darren Allan
Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.