Science fiction writing has always allowed a peek into the future. One vision is computers intelligence enough to design newer and more powerful computers without human intervention. This vision saw computers interconnecting with other computers and deciding to rule mankind. Great Sci-Fi reading yet today the vision is for intelligent computers.
The techcast.org web site mentions how IBM has invented computer chips which imitate the workings of the human synapses. This means the chips can learn and form an intelligence of their own. Gasp! I think William Smith can find a new occupation in the future by combating real life iRobots.
The Japanese have a invented a robot so all their robot needs is the IBM chips. What happened before can happen again. Did the Battle Star Galactica really burn up by flying into the sun? I hope not. Our great grand kids might need this Battle Star.
Forces opposing the innovation of thinking robots are legal and culture. Politicians might pass laws restricting the use of robots. Come to think of it a robot in Congress might get more accomplished than our politicians. Another opposing force is our culture. Sci-Fi has warned us and if we listened then our culture could demand their restrictions on the robots. How about if we restrict the robots to gardening and house cleaning? Ok, throw in washing the cars.