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A Grey Future

Rose Adams

Suzanne Northey Public

Speaking Award


The year is 2030. You wake up and look outside your bedroom

window. The apocalyptic night of a world reduced to metal, fire and

ash, where you are simply a plaything in a world governed by robotics,

has become real.

Whilst robotic advancement could prove enormously beneficial to

our society – particularly in relation to medicine and manufacturing

productivity – can we be sure these hyper-intelligent robots would

have our best interests at heart? Do you really think that we slow, soft-

bodied and biological humans, couldn’t be overthrown by the fast and


Currently robotic prosthetics are improving thousands of lives.

But as science continues to push the boundaries of the possible,

these prosthetics are slowly becoming available only to those who

can afford them, not necessarily those who need them. Now, the

latest advancement in robotic prosthetics is called the ‘Terminator’

arm. This prosthetic is wizard. When you see food and you want to

eat set food, your brain sends signals to your arm, telling it to pick up

the food, eat the food. This prosthetic can do that. And just for the

small price of $45,000.

Ironically, the countries with the highest rates of amputations, with

more than 300,000 occurring each year due to land mines, are

developing and war-torn. Do you really think they will be able to

afford this? They are creating an incredible piece of robotic technology,

but being so unaffordable, it is useless.

We have all seen the horrific work safe ads; we know that many

dangerous jobs exist in today’s world. But if we implemented robotics

specifically in professions where lives were put at risk, couldn’t we save

them? For example, last year 92 workers in a Samsung factory in

South Korea died of leukaemia because of exposure to benzene and

other cancer-causing chemicals. This was completely preventable. Do

you know who can’t get leukaemia? Robotics.

But where do we draw the line? It is estimated that in 25 years,

3 million professions will be automated. Do you think that could be

true? But when you think about it we can see it happening now. I

mean I can’t even remember the last time I haven’t used the self-

serve checkout at Woolworths.

Now the picture becomes clear, doesn’t it? A world where a robot

delivers your mail, collects your rubbish, cleans your house, and even

teaches your subjects. They are everywhere but what if they turn

against us?