My prediction in my previous post regarding the "Singularity" was that before any machine is capable of self-awareness, we will have machines that can, in effect, reproduce themselves. We already have factories with robots. It is not such a strech to increase the use of robots in factories, to the extent that entire factories are run automatically, robotically. So, everything from mining, smelting, and producing will be robotic. Then, make a robot factory with robots operating, and even robots to build robot building factories. So, I predict that robots will be capable of self reproduction, in a sense, long before they are capable of self-awareness, a much higher achievement and much harder to obtain.
This said, I think that we need to come to terms on just how the Robot explosion will happen, and who will be in control.
With robots capable of self reproduction, then two concerns arise. One, how to limit (if at all) the process. And two, who will own the self-reproduced robots. The latter is of special concern. Because if robots self-reproduce in robot built factories, then the only limit is the energy needed to run the show, and time. And with robots producing solar panels, the energy would be mostly free. And with time, the original owner of the first factory would become expontinally rich. While the rest of humanity sinks in deeper poverty; made reduntant by cheap robots.
Therefore I would propose the following. Self-reproduced robots should be considered not owned by the owners of the first robots, but should be considered property common to humanity. Follow me here on this idea.
Consider Antartica and the Moon. These places have been declared as owned by all mankind, and no private or state ownership is allowed. International Ownership Treaties: Antarctic Treaty System, Law of the Sea, Outer Space Treaty, Moon Treaty, International waters, Extraterrestrial real estate (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_Treaty_System)
These places have been declared "non private" because of the unavailability or distance. If they were available, people would claim and exploit.
In a similar way, I would like to see a similar agreement today for generated robots, that is robots created automatically by other robots, and without (much) human intervention.
Dr. Albert Einstein told us that the most powerful force in the universe is "compound interest". Generated robots would be not just compound interest, but even geometric interest. Thus the owner of the first completely automated robot factory would enjoy unlimited expansion. The result would be the rich get richer, and the poor are disposed with, because the robots would do the work formerly done by the poor.
So I would like to see a universal agreement, all nations, that what I will call "generated robots" to be somehow without owner. Or, generated robots to be considered publicly owned, and any future profits or production to be held in common, in some way.
Mr. Sony or Mr. Bill Gates or Mr. Steve Jobs would not own all the robots. The generated robots would go to everyone. So everyone, all six billion or ten billion of us would own and control several robots, and the energy to run them. More robots would be available, billions, for all of the useful productive work, such as farming or manufacturing.
Without such a universal agreement, Sony, Gates and Jobs (or some other individuals) would own all the robots, factories and of course, all of us. Not a future that I would look forward to.
On the subject of population, all (currently) six billion of us, I would like to predict that if everyone's every need were provided for by generated, unlimited robots, then popluation would shrink, especially in third-world countries. In the third-world, people have many children as their retirement investment, among other reasons. If everyone was confident that all their retirement needs would be provided for, then fewer children would be born. The population growth has virtually stopped or retracted in first-world, relatively wealthy countries. This negative population growth would repeat in any place that was wealthy and confident. Other improvements would follow, education, creativity, and life quality would rise. And with the fall in population, concerns such as greenhouse gas emissions, polution, and such, would be reduced. If population goes down from six billion to 600 million, then the energy needs and polution created would also be reduced a similar ninety percent, without any reduction in personal level of use.