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Humans protest potential robot overlords at SXSW

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Stop the Robots wants AI to help, not replace, humans

Attempting to warn humanity of the dangers foretold by fiction like Blade Runner, The Matrix, and Flight of the Conchords, an organization called Stop the Robots came out to South by Southwest over the weekend to protest the unchecked demand for the emergence of AI and intelligent robots. "We have to be careful that we don’t let AI, or technology, take over human roles in a way that is counterproductive to humanity," Adam Mason, a group spokesperson, tells Yahoo Tech. "And we have to figure out a way to use technology at a grand scale to actually create jobs."

"We foresee a future where technology is necessary for mankind."

The group's goal isn't to stop all robots and AI. Rather, the group is trying to further the message that some leading technology figures, like Elon Musk, have been discussing recently: that AI could eventually be really dangerous. Musk has even helped to fund an organization that promotes research that aims to help AI cater to the good of mankind. Stop the Robots' goal is quite similar. It wants to make sure that AI and robots "empower humans, rather than replace them."

The group claims to be composed of students from The University of Texas at Austin who appear be in fairly tech savvy fields. They showed up to SXSW holding posters with sayings like "humans are the future" and chanting "I say robot, you say no-bot," according to USA Today. Altogether, it appears to have been a simple gathering, but its message is clearly striking a chord at the tech-friendly festival. "We’re technologists that love technology," Mason tells Yahoo Tech, "and we foresee a future where technology is necessary for mankind." The group just wants to make sure technology doesn't obsolete mankind in the process.

Update March 16th, 9:20PM ET: Unfortunately, like so many things at South by Southwest, Stop the Robots turns out to be a marketing campaign for something totally unrelated: a dating app. On the Stop the Robots website, the startup behind it says that Adam Mason is a pseudonym. Its app does not involve robots or AI. Looks like it's still up to Elon Musk to save us.

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