If you saw an army of robots in London recently, you may have thought that science fiction has become fact with artificial beings walking among us.
Not just yet - the ‘humanoids’ were created by leading body artist Emma Fay ahead of the launch of new sci-fi thriller Westworld, which premieres on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV at 9pm on Tuesday night (October 4).
To mark the launch, a poll of 2,000 UK adults revealed Britons’ thoughts and fears about the prospect of robots being a common part of life in the future.
Robots - four in 10 Brits expect robots to be part of everyday life within 25 years (Pictures: SWNS)
According to the research, almost four in 10 Britons (39%) expect human-like robots to be part of everyday life within 25 years.
But nearly six in 10 UK adults have concerns about the impact of artificially intelligent robots on mankind, with four in 10 thinking humanoids could destroy humanity.
And 64% of people expect human-robot interaction to be commonplace within the next 50 years.
Fears include the dangers of robot malfunctions (45%) and that we will end up with a kind of dystopian future envisaged in films like Terminator, with a third (35%) believing robots will evolve beyond our understanding and take control of society.
Terminator - some people think the arrival of robots will lead to a dystopian world like that in Terminator
Professor Noel Sharkey, Emeritus Professor of AI and Robotics at the University of Sheffield, was a consultant on the study.
He said: “The robotics community has certainly been considering the idea that robots will be walking among us, and it’s just a matter of when really.
"We are likely to see robots integrated into society in the near future as shop assistants, receptionists, doctors, bartenders and also as carers for our elderly and children.
"It’ll all happen very gradually over the next 20 to 30 years until we don’t even notice they’re among us.”
Afraid - fears include losing jobs to robots and sharing our homes with them
Top concerns for people included robots interacting with their children (68%), losing out on jobs to uber-efficient humanoids (49%) and sharing our homes with artificially intelligent housemates (46%).
Zai Bennett, director of Sky Atlantic, said: "AI and robotics are fast becoming part of everyday life, but our research demonstrates just how much we don’t know about this technology or where it could be heading.
"Sky Atlantic’s Westworld explores what life might be like if this became a reality.
"It looks at the future of AI - and the choices we make when we’re given free rein to live our lives without any consequences.”