Questions about Robots

In the future, when you have your first humanoid robot servant and you decide to have some fun with it, and you tell it to do something stupid and arbitrary like go stand in the corner for no reason, put itself in embarrassing poses, or anything generally “abusive”, will you feel bad afterwards? Should you? Why?

I think I would, perhaps depending on the severity and arbitrariness. I asked my wife. She said definitely yes, and that regardless of whether the machine can “feel” embarrassment or frustration, it reveals a character deficiency in yourself. She compared it to abuse against animals.

I think it may also depend on how humanized the robot is. You would feel bad doing it to Data (ignoring his free will), but maybe not to a mute, grotesque car welder.

Thankfully, South Korea has come up with a robot code of ethics.


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1 thought on “Questions about Robots

  1. A-ron

    I’m not so sure I would feel bad. Like you said, it would depend on how the robot emotes, if it does at all. Your wife is spot on that it’s irrelevant how you would feel because it reveals a fundamental character defect in yourself. The robot is only a reflection of your belief system, especially a robot that can’t stand up for itself. Which brings up another question: how much humanization is too much? Would too much humanization make the apocalyptic futures of the Matrix or Terminator more likely, perhaps even inevitable?

    I just got a great idea. Thanks!

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