Society must periodically embrace outlandish fear in order to normalize and dissipate concern. Here’s how it happens: someone forecasts something of great concern, society then adopts the point of fear as part of its narrative (i.e. 1984), and we eventually become immune (acclimated) to the idea even as it is unfolding. I can recall hearing stories of “the machine is overtaking us” in early 1980′s. Scientists are also expressing concern:
Impressed and alarmed by advances in artificial intelligence, a group of computer scientists is debating whether there should be limits on research that might lead to loss of human control over computer-based systems that carry a growing share of society’s workload, from waging war to chatting with customers on the phone.
Their concern is that further advances could create profound social disruptions and even have dangerous consequences.
Slightly related, I’ve collected a series of robot-related resources on delicious.