For most of the what-if series I have been disappointed. But before I start my criticisms of this one start, I have to say that this question and the answer given are spectacular! Awesome job.
Now for my first critisism:
I’m by no means an expert
I'm pretty sure that the history listed is pretty damned close. Obviously working in robotics and lecturing AI courses is not the same thing but for the intentions of this question he's obviously experienced enough. Unless he means being an expert in the terminator movies. I think that's measured by the number of Arnold Schwarzenegger action figures owned.
As for the vehicles, this was completely overlooked:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_driverless_car
As was this:
(j/k, that movie made absolutely no sense. hehe)
I think that the drone robots were glossed over. They could use their weapons to get out. They could also use their weapons to hold people hostage for the purpose of refueling/rearming. However the people responsible for creating new weapons and the people producing fuel would have to cooperate somehow.
As for the nuclear attacks, in science fiction the qualities of compassion and humanity are not shared by robots. Robots should be assumed to have no problem nuking other robots if it accomplishes their goals. That is especially if the robots are assumed to have a shared consciousness or shared directives. (not far fetched
) As such they may sacrifice units for the good of the collective.
I'll admit that most robots can't communicate with one-another but the commands given to them in that theoretical moment of programming could include instruction to support a common goal and does not have to include self preservation as it has to do with willingly sacrificing itself for that goal.
Although the door/hangar barrier still exists, there are signs of insanely agile robots being worked on right now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sUeGC-8 ... r_embedded
These robots are useless at fighting now, but comments at the TED talk introducing them described future versions that could be used for moving heavy objects. Their small size is important to their maneuverability, however the main achievement is cooperation and working together to accomplish harder tasks... Imagine a legion of swallows dropping coconuts on an unsuspecting population!
As for the calculation of number of cars on the road. It is total poppycock. It's a plain fact that the vehicles driving large distances over their lifetime average much higher than 30mph. But that's also meaningless. The average mph and the average driving distance are completely unrelated measurements. And this is not taking time of day into consideration to predict how many cars are on the road at a given time. I think that if an estimation has to be made with a shaky method, don't do it. Find other means.
The last thing that I want to mention, which is not a criticism of this article, is that I love the comment that he makes:
Instead of the typical futuristic robot apocalypse scenario, let's suppose that our current machines turned against us. We won’t assume any technological advances
Even though this one is a theoretical situation with speculative results, it's grounded on real world experience. None of the other articles have that feature. At least robots trying to pass the threshold of a door is measurable science. The rest of the articles couldn't pass for observable science.