While we should be wary one day the machines will take over the Earth – they will and we’ll be their indentured servants – it’s worth bearing in mind, not all machines are out to kill us… yet.
We’re still a long way off before Skynet eventually rises and our will becomes broken by our robot overlords, so let us bask in the fact there are machines designed to rescue us from certain danger.
An example of how we’re still in control of the machines (and not the other way around) is Australia’s ‘state-of-the-art’ lifeguard drone – which ended up saving the lives of two teenagers off the coast of Lennox Head, New South Wales.
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The lifeguards were able to deploy a drone, which they were still learning to use, after two boys, aged 15 and 17, ended up in a life or death situation while out swimming, report the BBC.
A member of the public had spotted the two boys, who were struggling in heavy surf about 700m away from the shore.
Instead of swimming out to the boys, which would have taken them three times as long, the lifeguards on duty were able to send one of their drones to drop an inflatable rescue pod.
New South Wales’ Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, hailed their rescue as historic:
Never before has a drone fitted with a flotation device been used to rescue swimmers like this.
Jai Sheridan, the lifeguard supervisor who piloted the drone during the rescue, described the moment as ‘unreal’.
Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald he said:
The Little Ripper UAV certainly proved itself today, it is an amazingly efficient piece of lifesaving equipment and a delight to fly.
I was able to launch it, fly it to the location and drop the pod all in about one to two minutes.
On a normal day that would have taken our lifeguards a few minutes longer to reach the members of the public.
Back in December New South Wales’ state government revealed they’d invested $430,000 AUS (£247,000) on a fleet of drones, each with their own different purposes.
Some are equipped with flotation pods, alarms and loudspeakers – like the one used in the aforementioned rescue – while others were built specifically to spot incoming sharks.
Westpac Little Ripper Chief Executive, Eddie Bennet, said the rescue drone’s success was proof Australia are at the forefront in implementing the current technology, clearly displaying its benefits ‘in such a time-critical emergency situation’.
Bennet went on to say:
The investment by Westpac in allowing the development of the Westpac Little Ripper, is the new generation of rescue services.
This doesn’t change the fact that machines will, inevitably, develop sentient AI and either kill or enslave us.