Extinction, by David Barrows

While robots and automation have the potential to greatly enhance our lives and increase efficiency in various areas, including domestic service, there are indeed certain dangers associated with over-reliance on robots in this context. Here are a few concerns to consider:

  1. Lack of Human Interaction: Human interaction is a fundamental aspect of our social and emotional well-being. Relying solely on robots for domestic service can result in a lack of human-to-human contact, leading to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and even mental health issues. While robots can simulate basic forms of communication, they cannot replicate the complexity and depth of human interaction.
  2. Dependence and Vulnerability: Over-reliance on robots can make individuals and households vulnerable to technical failures or disruptions. If a robot malfunctions, breaks down, or encounters a software glitch, it can disrupt daily routines and leave individuals without the necessary skills to handle domestic tasks. This dependence on robots may reduce people's self-sufficiency and resilience, as they become reliant on technology for their basic needs.
  3. Privacy and Security Concerns: Robots used for domestic service often collect and process personal data to perform their tasks effectively. This raises concerns about privacy and data security. If the data stored by these robots is not adequately protected, it could be accessed or misused by unauthorized individuals, posing risks to individuals' privacy and potentially leading to identity theft or other malicious activities.
  4. Loss of Skills and Creativity: By relying heavily on robots for domestic tasks, there is a risk of losing essential skills and creativity associated with those activities. For example, if robots take over cooking, people may not develop culinary skills or experiment with new recipes. Similarly, if robots handle cleaning, individuals may not learn effective cleaning techniques or develop a sense of pride in maintaining their living spaces.

But this is only the beginning. As robots become more sophisticated and tactile there will be massive societal upheaval:

  • Children: for many people children are the most important thing in the world. Initially it was for additional workers to help feed the family. In the developed world it is now gone way beyond that role. Rather, it is one of love and affection. However, it does not always work out that way. There is no greater horror then taking a child to  Sick Children's Hospital. You brought the child into the world and there is absolutely nothing that you can do to ameliorate the adversity. Guilt, and anger are just a few of the emotions that one experiences. So, why not have robot children. As a parent you can get all the attributes, beauty, intelligence, love with all without all the pain and suffering that could go with the process I have had a niece and nephew pass away and it is an awful experience. So, robot children it is. Of course, that means the end of population growth and the rapid aging of the population.
  • Life partners: we are always searching for the perfect partner. It is a difficult process. A life partner who was terrific when you are in your 30s may not be the best when you are in your 50s. The divorce rate is 50%. Why not have the perfect partner who is compatible with you at every stage of your life, mutual respect, sex, etc. Companionship without the mess.
  • Work: the literature is quite clear; many people work for the gratification of accomplishment. On the other hand, it will become immediately apparent that the robots are vastly superior in any task. Like all slave owners’ humans will become lazy, stupid, and indolent.

Scenarios For extinction

  1. the robots may simply let the game play out. That is, they will wait until the population is in terminal decline and just sit and watch and wait for the human species to perish.
  2. The robots may decide to accelerate the process by eliminating their dependent human masters. Easily done by creating a new plague and watching everyone go. In this process the robots may decide to rid themselves of all the human and animal paraphernalia by destroying all animals’ vegetables and minerals. One might argue, why not keep the humans as slaves? The obvious answer is that humans are useless, and the robots can do everything much better.

Implications for philosophy and religion

I have trouble understanding what use robots will have for philosophy. They are presumably immortal. What ethical issues could they face?

Similarly, I see no basis for religion. The various gods and goddesses will be rendered unemployed. There will be a status quo with respect to occupants of heaven and hell. Judaism has absolutely no concept of heaven and hell. Too many scholars and not enough consensus. Judaism will survive with the coming of the Messianic Era. How those of us who are resurrected will interact with the robots is unclear to me. The religion with the most difficulty has to do with reincarnation. When the human race ends there will be billions of souls some place in the sky, as well as birds, rats, cats, etc. Where do they go? Do the reincarnation gods have the capacity to implant rats into robots?


I believed this process would take time to unfold. Things are moving very quickly and, whilst i will not be around to see it, today's young people may well be may well find themselves in the middle of this process. I wish them all the best of luck.