Friday, February 15, 2008


I was going to write a third part to the Mental Shifts discussion I’ve been doing, but reading through the past two was too boring. I’ll have to continue that some time later when I’ve got more interest.
What is interesting to people in general are stories. At a simplified level the most compelling stories are about characters (the more well made the better) in conflict of some kind. It can be people against each other, against ideas, against nature, against monsters. There are many lists of these sorts of things; one of the classic ones is the 36 Dramatic Situations. If a teaching of moral philosophy or description of the mind is put into a story that necessitates that information, it will be far more engaging than an essay on the same topic; at least for most readers. I need to learn how to write those. Anyway, today is dancing robots.
First, watch this video:

Then read this comic (be sure to come back, there’s lots of interesting stuff there!):

We will have useful humanlike robots within the next 25 years. Possibly even within the next 10 years.
We need to be ready. This development will probably be a bigger deal than anyone expects. Because we are going to like them. A robot with the same coordination and range of movement as a human will be able to do certain jobs humans had done. Basically, we’ll have expensive, obedient slaves. The other important aspect is bonding. People already like their pets, stuffed animals and cars. Robot integration into society as a servant class is going to be a big deal to the first generation, and once a generation of kids grows up with robots, there will be even more strangeness compared to now. Don’t you like dancing robots? If you had a robot right now, what would you want it to run and get you?
Currently, many people deny a the existence of soul. If a robot can mimic humanity well enough, a portion of people will accept them as equals. On the other hand, they won’t be as mentally capable as humans, I don’t see advances yet in useful artificial intelligence. So these social considerations likely won’t develop into a problem with interaction with another creature, but one of how we will view each other in relating to a new and powerful machine. It is like our views on the treatment of animals. Cruelty is illegal, eating certain animals is not, and many people treat their pets just like people, and project onto their pets emotions and thoughts the pet does not have. The same thing will happen with robots. The technology is currently available to make robots look exactly like humans. Now, pets don’t do much economically. There are some working dogs, and some breeding trade. But for robots, they will be economically valuable, cleaning, picking up trash, functioning as security guards, solders, working in nursing homes, stealing things, selling drugs, and being waitresses.
This is all theoretical now, but you should start thinking about how we will treat robots and more importantly, how we will treat other humans who have different ideas about how to treat robots.

Grady Houger ~ I want one & will be disturbed by it

No comments: