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Robots 'will demand rights'


silverfox

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It must have been a slow news day at the Telegraph. This argument has been raging within academic and science fiction circles for several decades now. The cyborg/robot issue is a bit of a red herring. Artificial, self-aware intelligence is most likely to manifest itself as software running on either an inert or synthetic biological substrate. Such a program may be written entirely by human programmers or (more likely in my view) emerge from something like an artificial neural network.


However, if and when it does happen - it will be the equivalent of an encounter with alien intelligence and all that that entails, including the issue of rights and other social protocols - it goes without saying.

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I don't think a prophylactic is required in a robot-human relationship, Mockney. That could be one of the advantages.


But to be a little more Drawing Room about the whole thing (if we're accepting this is a Drawing Room subject) the linked piece seems to be full of speculation and fantasy to me with very little fact beyond wooly declarations that fully functioning cyborgs may be a reality... sometime.

I won't be losing sleep over it and I doubt Amnesty will be setting up a cyborg branch just yet.

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Annaj, you're clearly forgetting about the lovely Pris in Bladerunner (and thanks for the spelling correction btw). Actually no idea whether or not she could get up the duff, I guess she'd have been designed sterile. Number six cylon claimed she could however. *dons anorak*


But totally with you HAL, had the same reaction regards news. And indeed it's long been a theme explored in science fiction to which your very name stands testament.

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I agree annaj that the article was a bit wooly but I seem to remember professor Michio Kaku referring to an international conference in Japan that was trying to pre-empt some of the moral dilemmas that are already arising with the speed of development in robotics, cybernetics and artificial intelligence. These issues are relevant now, not in some future society.


A nightmare scenario envisaged by some scientists is that the robots become more intelligent than ourselves and start to regard us as an inferior species. It will not be a matter of switching off a plug on the wall to disable them.


Back to the Telegraph article though, if the pornography industry decides to use a bunch of intelligent robots as sex slaves do we allow that on the basis that they are only robots or, if they pass the Alan Turing test of intelligence, do we give them rights to protect them from exploitation?

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I saw Michio Kaku in a documentary recently where he basically came to the conclusion that while we can create artificial intelligence to a degree and make lifelike robotic representations of ourselves we are still very far off ever being able to reproduce the infinite intricacies that would make up human thought and emotion.
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Personally, I doubt that a human authored program will ever emulate the human mind. Not because it can't be done but because it will become cheaper and easier to grow synthetic bio-brains in jars first.


However, I do see a potential risk in pursuing non-biological AI. It is far more likely that some purely logical intellect emerges that thinks and behaves more like the creature in Alien than a compliant R2D2. There is no reason whatsoever for an emergent AI to have any human attributes.


Another question that interests me it whether the 'intelligence' of an AI entity would be limited to that of a human? I doubt it. It could be so different in type and power that we may not be able to communicate with it. After all, so far we have failed to communicate with any of the thousands of species that have co-evolved with us on this planet.


As for robotic sex slaves, again, I think it will soon be easier and cheaper to clone promiscuous, bimbo-brained celebrity look-alikes to fulfil such a role.

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HAL9000 Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------

> After all, so far we

> have failed to communicate with any of the

> thousands of species that have co-evolved with us

> on this planet.


That's not true. We can communicate with plenty of animals very well, most notably dogs.

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Brendan Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------

> That's not true. We can communicate with plenty of

> animals very well, most notably dogs.


Sorry, it's just me being lazy. What I mean is that we have no idea what it is like to be a dog or to think like a dog and no way of communicating meaningfully with a dog within its own plane of consciousness. We don't even know whether any other animals have some level of consciousness.


We communicate with dogs and other animals only from within our own plane of consciousness. I hope this makes more sense.

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You can say the same about other human beings though. I can only assume that your plane of consciousness is similar or the same to mine. I don?t know though.


I can assume that a dog?s is different but similar in some respect only but observing the similarities and difference in the way they react to things.


Not to sure if I have some kind of point though.

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True enough - but I would say that it's a fair assumption when it comes to human-to-human comparisons. We can't make that assumption in respect to other animal species and I see no reason why it should apply to an emergent AI or, for that matter, an extraterrestrial alien species, in my view.
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You might both have good points Hal9000 and Brendan as the article in yesterday's Daily Mail postulates.


"Insects with minuscule brains may be as intelligent as much bigger animals and may even have consciousness.


Having a brain the size of a pinhead does not necessarily make you less bright, say researchers.

Computer simulations show that consciousness could be generated in neural circuits tiny enough to fit into an insect's brain, according to the scientists at Queen Mary, University of London and Cambridge University."


Okay, we're looking at biological brains here, neural synapses etc, not computer circuits, but the point would be that 'intelligence' and 'consciousness' may arise quite easily and given the promises of nanotecnology we need to beware we don't create a monster.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1228661/Insects-consciousness-able-count-claim-experts.html

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Daleks can fly?!


Brendan, can you confirm? I may have to rethink my entire Save The Population Of The George Canning plan.


Also silverfox, in the spirit of this thread should we be considering granting rights to nasty mutant life-forms hiding inside machines? I feel this may be important.

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