Why do humans want to build robots? It seems, on the face of it, to be a suicidal endeavour, destroying jobs and, ultimately, rendering our species redundant as more intelligent and effective beings take over. Lacking, as we now do, an agreed metaphysical justification for human specialness, it must only be a matter of time before we submit to the machine ascendancy.
So far, it has been a subtle, incremental process that conceals any wider significance. Take satellite navigation. First introduced in the 1980s, it’s now more or less universal. Maps have become quaint. So we walk or drive without a visual model of where we are. This may be a small loss of human agency but it’s a loss nonetheless.
Driverless cars may turn out to be a less subtle, more spectacular example.