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What is an android?
We define an android to be a robot with the shape and abilities of a human.
Why build androids?
The most important reason is to help us humans enjoy life and to relieve us of many of the mundane tasks which we all face every day. Humans have been designing tools and other devices to be used by other humans for millennia. While you could design and build a robot to do any specific task better and faster than a human, if you build a robot which has the same capabilities as a human, then it will automatically be able to use all of the countless tools which we have designed in the same manner we would. Thus, the androids will be able to take over for us and perform those mundane tasks for us - but, only if they have our shape and capabilities.
The android building business
The android building business will become one of the greatest new industries of the 21st century. By the middle of the century and perhaps sooner, it will rival the automobile industry in size and importance. Indeed, I would compare the android business today to the automobile business of 1900. There are many universities and corporations who are even now trying to build successful androids. Very soon androids will be available for sale - and in a price range where many people will be able to afford them. While many people will fear for their jobs when androids appear, I believe that the android industry will create more jobs than it destroys - just as did the computer industry.
Uniqueness of androids
Androids will be the most unique product ever produced because they will be the first product which can build itself! This ability should lead to a lower cost product because of low labor costs. Not only will they build themselves, but they will also be able to tell you what is wrong when something inside them fails. In some cases, androids will be able to repair themselves. And, at the very least, androids will be able to repair other androids - much as doctors repair humans.
Potential value of the android business
How much is the worlds automobile industry worth? Probably in the area of one trillion dollars per year. That is the potential of the android business too. Why? Think about it. The cost of an android will be about the same as a car. The potential sales are way into the tens of millions. Actually almost any job which is NOT CREATIVE could potentially be performed by an android. That means assembly line workers, fast food workers and sales personnel could all be replaced. Our initial goal is a domestic servant. The first person, company, or group to produce a working android will become BILLIONAIRES.
Many people have probably already realized that a superintelligence already exists - it is called the internet. Clearly, all we need to do is to interface the androids to the internet and they will rapidly become super intelligent too. We at Android World plan to introduce such an interface for our Valerie android within a year. Perhaps some readers are familiar with the Loebner prize which is a real prize for a computer program which can pass the (Alan) Turing test. The Turing test is a test which if passed is considered to give an indication of intelligence. To date, computers have not done very well. However, I believe that soon computers and more specifically androids will suddenly become superintelligent due to their interface to the internet. They will be able to converse in many if not all languages (can you do that?) and will have access to unlimited information via the internet (can you do that?).
Will androids be dangerous?
I believe that it is extremely unlikely that they will become dangerous or try to take over the world as portrayed by Hollywood in many movies - such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Terminator, Terminator-2, Saturn-5, The Stepford Wives, Westworld or Future World.
Why won't they become dangerous? OUR androids will have built in (software) protection (Asimov's first law) to prevent them from hurting people intentionally. However, it will be very hard to prevent the android from accidentally harming humans in some cases - such as the following. Suppose some person puts poison into the salt container. Then, if the android used salt from that container (thinking it was salt, of course), he might poison and perhaps kill a person. I'm sure you can think of many other booby traps which could be set up to "frame" an android. People and also androids (because we have built in protection against this) need a reason to hurt people intentionally. Androids don't need sex or money or food or posessions or clothes for that matter. We are creating them to serve us. If we didn't give them anything to do, they would have absoutely nothing TO DO. THAT quickly becomes very boring, so I think they will be happy to serve us. I believe that they will be appreciated and even loved by their owners. They will become more indespensible than anything else you own.
Why can't they take over the world? Because it is extremely unlikely that there are some unknown laws of physics which the androids could discover and use against humans. Keep in mind that when a scientist or inventor discovers something new it is common to build specialized equipment to investigate it. Such equipment is becoming more and more costly and thus new discoveries are getting more and more expensive. It seems ridiculous to me that a group of androids could secretly develop some new and dangerous weapon.
What can an android do?
The short answer is just about anything a person can do. It will have no need to eat or breathe or to perform other bodily functions and will therefore not be equipped to do so. However, in the future, there will doubtless be versions which will be able to have sex. Although this will not be useful for the android, it will clearly be of interest to some buyers. Our initial product will NOT have sex, because we dont want the bad publicity which will inevitably follow. One very important function an android will perform for you is to be a 24 hour security guard for your home or business. Since it need not sleep, it will always be awake and can sound the alarm in case of burglary or fire. It could also phone the police or fire department and tell them where the emergency was (something your trusty dog or surveillance camera cannot do). It will also be able to converse intelligently with you about any subject (which few spouses can do) and it will of course remember all of its previous conversations with you. It will become your best friend. It will probably do homework for the kids if asked, but more likely the parents will forbid the androids from doing homework. Androids will be able to provide in home care for the elderly or infirm. In this way we will be doing our part to reduce the cost of medical care. At this time I am not sure about caring for babies so we will not allow them to do that for now - until we are sure they wont make any mistakes.
What will an android cost?
I believe that their cost will be comparable to that of a car. Although Honda Motor company has indicated that their android, Asimo, will sell for about $300,000, the cost is surely much lower. Once production reaches volume levels, the cost will come down. We estimate that Valerie will sell for $45,000 - $75,000. Custom versions will be available for somewhat more. We believe that many people will want androids built to look like people they know - such as a late spouse or child or a famous person like a movie star or an athlete or a rock star.
When will androids be available?
There are well over a 200 different groups or people now working to develop androids. Honda has already produced a human-sized product called Asimo. Sadly, Asimo has few useful abilities, however other androids will appear within the next few years. We are currently working on our Valerie android which will also be available within a few years. I believe that 10% of US homes will have an android within 12 years and 50% will within 20 years. That represents a potential market of 10 million units in the next 12 years just in the US. It is probably the same for Japan or Western Europe giving a potential of 30 million units worldwide in the next 12 years.
What will the future of androids be?
Besides providing relief from the mundane tasks of everyday life, I believe that androids have a very bright future in space exploration. Since androids dont need to breathe and are not bothered by the cold of outer space, they are the perfect workers for building spaceships and facilities on the Moon, Mars, and in orbit around the Earth and elsewhere in space. Ten years ago I wrote a book called JOBS for the 21st Century which discussed space development and the use of androids in its development. This book is available on my Mars website. There you can read it or purchase a copy. You can also read about my revolutionary method of spaceship propulsion which is FAR SUPERIOR to rockets. Please visit: http://www.androidpubs.com/
Comments? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org