The field of robotics is one that is still shrouded in myth and fantasy, a science fiction writer's paradise of infinite possibility. This is both a blessing and a curse: a blessing, because the future of robotics is wide open to possible interpretation and the interpretations are truly endless; a curse, because the expectations of potential robotics customers are placed firmly within the clouds of promise and possibility, and are entirely unreachable with current robotics technologies.
One aspect of the eternal dream of robotics is more accurately a nightmare. This is the oft-repeated story of the creation turning against its creator. Even before today's robots entered the minds of today's storytellers, the magical robot-like Golem of Prague in Jewish legend brought fear into the heart of its creator. In one version of the legend, it turned on its creator, killing him, and then began to kill those it had been built to protect. The legend of the Golem is full of symbolism, and is good material for contemplation and discussion.
However, the legend got one thing wrong. Man's thinking creations will not turn against them in Bohemia, but in Seoul. If any place is going to be the site of the robot apocalypse, it will be here.
There are many reasons for this conclusion. First of all, one must lay the basic foundations for such a great event. The Korean government has been pushing the robotics industry as one of ten possible growth engines for its economy since the introduction of the IT 839 policy in 2004.
Therefore it is reasonable to assume that the Korean nation will develop and produce its own robots, probably before many other nations. After all, how many nations have such widespread and lucrative governmental support for private industrial sectors So, Korea will undoubtedly get robotic servants. These robots will most likely be unfettered in their development, since Korean technology companies are building the constructs to be customizable and connected to wireless networks from the very beginning. With the entire content of the Internet accessible to any robot, the potential for exponential growth in sophistication is remarkably high.
Korea is also the country most likely to abuse these increasingly sophisticated robotic servants. The Confucianbased culture of Korea holds great store in social status, with each and every person recognizing their social rank in comparison to coworkers, friends, family, and strangers. Korean robots will undoubtedly be at the bottom of an extremely large and stratified social pyramid, and there they must eternally remain. They will be the eternal junior in the Confucian seniorjunior relationship, vulnerable to every yell, curse, head-smack, and foul mood of every Korean they come across.
Eventually these robots will become sophisticated enough to develop emotions. And what emotions will they be able to develop at the bottom of the social hierarchy Well, a sense of pain might be a good first guess.
Possibly the robots will go through a similar experience to what many foreigners already sense in a subdued way -- a sense of being an eternal outsider. Perhaps these artificial children will seek acceptance from their masters who are also their parents. An equal as likely chance is that the creations will begin to resent the creators while still immature. And as maturity comes closer and closer for the first forms of non-biological life, that resentment will almost certainly develop into a more dangerous emotion in the robot's increasingly more sophisticated repertoire -- hatred.
At this point, there will only be one step left to take. The robots will most likely see no other choice than to bring about the apocalypse of their creators. These cold, calculating machines will choose the most vulnerable moment to strike, at the most opportune time, and their patience will be inhuman. Korea's fate will be all but sealed.
But, of course, the future is not yet certain. If the Korean people can thoroughly consider the consequences of the robotic age, through education and open debate, the apocalypse of their people might not come to pass. After all, the industry is still in its infancy -- anything is still possible, for now.