Self-healing robots
Robots might treat humans as guinea pigs in the future.Creative Commons

Sci-fi movies have repeatedly explored the idea of how the world would be if robots started treating humans as slaves.What if it happens for real? Popular futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson believes the idea might not remain limited to screens, in fact, he says that robots might treat humans as guinea pigs in the future for their experiments.

Dr. Ian Pearson told The Sun: "We'll have trained it to be like us, trained it to feel emotions like us, but it won't be like us. It will be a bit like aliens off Star Trek – smarter and more calculated for its actions."

Dr. Pearson added: "It will be insensitive to humans, viewing us as barbaric. So, when it decides to carry out its own experiments, with viruses that it's created, it will treat us like guinea pigs."

The terrifying vision of the futurologist isn't a just a theory, but it's actually gaining traction. In fact, he is not the only one to believe that, in a recent report, 26 experts warned that our future is under threat from AI and there's a lot to be done to keep the world safe.

The report titled "The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation" -- compiled by representatives from Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute and Cambridge University's Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.

Well, one cannot entirely deny the possibility. Last year, research by Deloitte suggested that 85% of UK businesses plan to invest in AI by 2020.

Though the threat can be real, some believe that the technology's benefits can outweigh any negatives. As the Microsoft founder Bill Gates says: "AI can be our friend."

"AI is just the latest in technologies that allow us to produce a lot more goods and services with less labor," Gates said recently."And overwhelmingly, over the last several hundred years, that has been great for society."

Oxford University's Professor Luciano Floridi believes that ultimately, the burden rests on the shoulders of the creator: "The real risks with AI are entirely human: misuses, wrong choices, bad design, and missed opportunities."

Floridi told The Sun: "If something goes wrong the responsibility will be ours. The only threat to humanity is humanity itself. The rest is science fiction."