Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sex with Robots: How Humanity is Screwing Itself

That's a title that will get attention. It's a perfectly ironic title of an article from Live Science.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was writing an ethics paper on the use of cybernetic technology to increase human cognitive capacities.

If you want, scan through the article, but I'm going to highlight the relevant points here for my paper.

  • A few weeks ago I was chatting with my room mate envisioning a not to distant future where current technology would be further fused to our being. I see the progression as being from accessing the internet at a hub (desktop) to an every present access in the palm of your hands to, well, something a little more intrinsic. The article has a nice anecdote to convey the gist: "You're already paying per month to access that growing cloud of stuff you care about. And you've become a slave to charging batteries and synchronizing platforms. You're already adorned in wearable devices. Next step for you: implanted ones. Our very human need to "always be on top of things" powerfully pushes us in the direction of robotic enhancement. It's precisely what drove your grandparents to buy that first TV."
  • "If you have virtually limitless entertainment everywhere you are, why would you ever go anywhere at all?" This reminds me of a Star Trek TNG Episode (The Game) and was also alluded to in a scene of Children of Men giving a glimpse into the lives of the elite in a not to distant dystopian earth scenario.
  • "So the root question becomes: Will we be able to impart ambition and curiosity into Hubot Roboman?" The issue of ambition and curiosity is an excellent starting point for defining what it means to be human.

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