Why robots will be the better people

02.03.2017

The next era will be dominated by robots and artificial intelligence – that’s economics professor Robin Hanson’s view. He explains what the world will look like when we share it with millions of identical robots in his TEDx talk.

The economist and author Robin Hanson has a radical view of our future. He is convinced that we will live among ‘Ems’: robots whose brains copy (emulate) those of humans.

Hanson predicts that, if technological advances continue to accelerate, the world will soon be populated by millions of human clones. These Ems will be immortal and will be able to work thousands of times faster than humans can. "They feel human, they’re like humans, but they are different in that way: they’re better."

"In general I am telling you what this world will be like. Some parts are not pretty, other parts are," said Hanson in his TEDx talk in Tallinn, explaining how Ems will change the world. Ems will interact in virtual reality and will therefore be able to travel long distances much faster than we currently can physically. However, the humanoid robots won’t fear the destruction of the environment, as their lives won’t depend on it. "They may not save nature as much," predicts Hanson.


"One of the most important things about this world is that robots can make copies easily. An important part that follows from that is that growth can be much faster," he says. With robots working for us, flesh and blood humans will become the pensioners of the future – throughout their entire lives.

And there won’t be much variety in Hanson’s utopia: the world of Emulators will feature millions of copies of a few hundred human models. 

Robin Hanson was a sepaker at the 13th European Trend Day on 15 March 2017.