I’m doing something a little different as I’m going to be exploring some ideas about robots and AI today and human enhancement technologies over the next day or so. I have never been particularly interested in these topics but after studying and thinking about nanotechnology I have found that I can’t ignore them since nanotech is being used to enable these, for want of a better word, innovations. I have deep reservations about these areas of research, especially human enhancement, but I imagine I would have had deep reservations about electricity had I been around in the days when it was first being commercialized.
This item, Our Metallic Reflection: Considering Future Human-android Interactions, in Science Daily is what set me off,
Everyday human interaction is not what you would call perfect, so what if there was a third party added to the mix – like a metallic version of us? In a new article in Perspectives on Psychological Science, psychologist Neal J. Roese and computer scientist Eyal Amir from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign investigate what human-android interactions may be like 50 years into the future.
As I understand the rough classifications, there are robots (machines that look like machines), androids (machines that look like and act like humans), and cyborgs (part human/part machine). By the way, my mother can be designated as a cyborg since she had her hip replacement a few years ago. It’s a pretty broad designation including people with pacemakers, joint replacements, as well as any other implanted object not native to a human body.
The rest of the Science Daily article goes on to state that by 2060 androids will be able to answer in human-like voices, answer questions and more. The scientists studying the potential interactions are trying to understand how people will react psychologically to these androids of 2060.
For an alternative discussion about robots, AI, etc. you can take a look at a project where Mary King, a collegue and fellow classmate (we completed an MA programme at De Montfort University), compares Western and Japanese responses to them.
This research project explores the theories and work of Japanese and Western scientists in the field of robotics and AI. I ask what differences exist in the approach and expectations of Japanese and Western AI scientists, and I show how these variances came about.
Because the Western media often cites Shinto as the reason for the Japanese affinity for robots, I ask what else has shaped Japan’s harmonious feelings for intelligent machines. Why is Japan eager to develop robots, and particularly humanoid ones? I also aim to discover if religion plays a role in shaping AI scientists’ research styles and perspectives. In addition, I ask how Western and Japanese scientists envision robots/AI playing a role in our lives. Finally, I enquire how the issues of roboethics and rights for robots are perceived in Japan and the West.
You can go here for more. Amongst other gems, you’ll find this,
Since 1993 Robo-Priest has been on call 24-hours a day at Yokohama Central Cemetery. The bearded robot is programmed to perform funerary rites for several Buddhist sects, as well as for Protestants and Catholics. Meanwhile, Robo-Monk chants sutras, beats a religious drum and welcomes the faithful to Hotoku-ji, a Buddhist temple in Kakogawa city, Hyogo Prefecture. More recently, in 2005, a robot dressed in full samurai armour received blessings at a Shinto shrine on the Japanese island of Kyushu. Kiyomori, named after a famous 12th-century military general, prayed for the souls of all robots in the world before walking quietly out of Munakata Shrine.
It seems our androids are here already despite what the article in Science Daily indicates. More tomorrow.
Book launch announcement: Susan Baxter, guest blogger here and lead author of The Estrogen Errors: Why Progesterone is Better for Women’s Health, is having a book launch tomorrow, Thursday, July 23, 2009 from 6 – 8 pm, at Strands Hair and Skin Treatment Centre, #203 – 131 Water St. (in the same complex as the kite store), Vancouver.