July 24, 2013
How Long Until Robots Feel Human?
Watching Will Smith parade around in I, Robot with his vintage Converse All Star sneakers got me wondering why I don’t have better taste in shoeware. Alas, I found myself in Wal-Mart (don’t judge me) six hours later, burning calories in my temple over whether I should have gotten flip-flops or sneakers. The outcome is always the same; eventually something always ends up on my feet. But, why do I have so many choices? There are aisles of these things propped neatly in some areas with a vast array of colors and designs.
And again, the outcome is always the same. If you tell a computer to run an anti-virus program, they run it. No ifs, ands, or buts. They have no motivation to reject your offer other than the obstacle of technical difficulties. American robotics are a lot like this, obviously, because they’re robots. What I mean to say is that if a robot could bring you a cup of water, than what’s the use in giving the robot a face? What’s making you so uncomfortable about a lifeless block of metal with complex wiring completing an everyday task for you?
If I asked any of you to bring me an item from the table, your usual reaction is to retort with compliance to my request, or you can tell me to go fuck myself.
You see, I like that second answer quite a bit.
No, I’m not openly discussing masturbation here. I simply wonder how long it’ll be before robots actually feel human. Not look, not act, but actually feel like another human life form. Is it so hard to imagine a robot with conscious thoughts and gestural habits to accent their appearance?
Steven Spielberg directed a science fiction opera called Artificial Intelligence (AI), and in this movie he depicted the theory of free will and absolute destruction by no means of your own.
For example, Jude Law portrays Gigolo Joe (yes, I know.), a robotic man-whore who claims to know every secret of the female body. Joe doesn’t just act the part of a sex hound, he completely embodies what it means to strive for the perfection of a single task. Humans seek perfection all the time, but at some point we all give up our goals in frustration.
Joe would rather walk with style and spend his endless hours in the night wooing unknowing ladies to his cause. He sways left and right with the confidence of a 40-year-old pimp, and his language never falters with uplifting language. Joe is everything we’d love to see in a man of that profession. Joe is a robot. Foreign. Alien. Enemy.
A person needs only to act out of his own decisions and goals. As he/she pursues those goals, they inevitably intertwine with other people. So, then I ask yet again, how long till’ robots feel just like you and I do?
Let me know in the comments below.
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com