Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Robots Anonymous

We certainly have some interesting discussions in my group here at work. Yesterday, one of the team proposed the subject of Robots. All my life I can recall the movies and the t.v. shows that were fixated on Robots and the possibilities therein. They can improve our lives and take over the housework load like "Rosy" from the Jetsons. Or they can (try to) take over the world and destroy as in Terminator or I, Robot. Maybe they can get so highly advanced that they begin to have human feelings and emotions, and a desire to live life as portrayed in A.I., or Simone. Clearly, humans are obscessed with Robots, their development, and what this might mean for the future.

The way this subject came about was in the form of a question, designed to make you think (or at least spur quite the interesting discussion!). He asked us first, "If you could have a robot for a partner (i.e., spouse, significant other, etc.) and it was lifelike in every way and only you would know your partner was this robot... would you do it?" Now, conditions: You could choose any model that you wanted of this robot-it could have any looks that you desired. It is also guaranteed not to malfunction, or have issues (remember this is all hypothetical). The only thing is, it would not have any human emotion, or be able to feel like you and I. Would you do it? What if there was a very 'slight' characteristic that would allow people to know he/she was a robot? There are limitless pros and cons, one can only imagine.

Some people's thoughts or responses to this question can suprise you, there were actually a couple people who said emphatically "Sure! In a Minute if she could look like Beyonce!". So do you think? Would you or your friends and coworkers do this if they were assured nobody would know? Or would they care? The future holds infinite possibilities, so who knows what tomorrow might bring? Think of how many things seemed impossible just a couple of decades ago that are now a routine part of our daily lives. Just look how far we have come already. (Click photo for detail) or see the following video->

"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do." ~B.F. Skinner, Contingencies of Reinforcement, 1969

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity." ~Albert Einstein

"Once upon a time we were just plain people. But that was before we began having relationships with mechanical systems. Get involved with a machine and sooner or later you are reduced to a factor." ~Ellen Goodman, "The Human Factor," The Washington Post, January 1987


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robotJAM said...

Is that video for real, it looks like someone pretending to be a robot. I think it would be probably a bad idea the "guaranteed to not malfunction" bit is just wrong. Have they ever seen sci fi films, the robots always go wrong and end up as killing machines !!

Aunt Jackie said...

Yes it's real... these Japanese robotics are pretty cool... I know, it is scary when you think of how they always malfunction! But no, the question my co-worker had asked was merely hypothetical... he just enjoys provoking thought... Thanks for visiting.

[To the spammer, I don't quite care if you didn't 'find what you were looking for' on my blog. Thanks anyway.]

laughtokeepfromcrying said...

what an interesting concept, robot for a partner....hmmm, well I can state emphatically, no but hell no......although I'm sure my partner as well as myself have at times over the years been able to live robotically. For instance, "zone out", "go through the motions", "be on automatic" My question is this, if one is going to chose a robot for a significant other, why not go the cheap route and get a vibrator or a blow up doll? Fewer parts to replace and easier robots for relatives.or might have something there.