Aliens, robots, they’re both things you expect to see in sci-fi films and/or television programmes like Star Wars and Star Trek. They’re part of another world that many people don’t buy into. Aliens, I suppose, are a bit different in that many do believe there is life out there on other planets. Though many are probably as doubtful as I am that these aliens are the same kind we see on Doctor Who, or the grey alien in American Dad.
Robots, however, are a complete other story. Whilst many believe that robots can be akin to Robocop; let’s face it, a robot that can travel around and do things? Who wouldn’t want that? We could have house cleaning robots which put the dishes in the dishwasher, clean the bathroom and pick up our dirty laundry. It’s almost like a pipe dream, something we wish would exist in order to make our lives easier or better.
In actual fact, robots in some form have existed for quite a long time; car plants use machinery which has a rather robotic feel and there’s lots of children’s toys out there that have been formed with robots in mind.
The only thing is, they’re not intelligent. Today Katy asked us to talk about Artificial Intelligence, robots with more intelligence than your average toy…than your average human. I believe the theme was designed more as a question of whether we should, morally, ‘replace’ humans in some respects with intelligent robots. Perhaps an army of metallic intelligence? Or robot friends for those who can’t get them elsewhere?
I’m not convinced and really, it’s not about the intelligence of robots. I don’t really care if robots exist or not, though really, how a robot could have the same effect as a human, I don’t agree. The difference between robots and humans is that, no matter how intelligent a robot is, they will never understand feelings. Humans have feelings and that is the one thing that really sets us apart from any electronic device. There’s a psychologist out there that likened the human thought process to computers and whilst there may be a little truth in the way we save information being similar to computers, but, humans aren’t as simple as that. Obviously computers are very complex and in theory aren’t as simple as pressing save either, but for us to save a document on a computer it appears as simple as us pressing save. It doesn’t work like that with the brain, so how can it be possible for robots to ever understand the world? They may hold information, like a computer, and may be programmed to act in certain ways. But robots won’t have natural instincts, they won’t have thoughts, they won’t have feelings and they certainly won’t be able to replace human contact.
And I don’t want them to.
Forgetting the emotional side for a moment; why should we make our lives ‘easier’ by buying robots to do everything WE did before? Do we not risk becoming the people sat on chairs which ride on tracks living our lives through a small screen in front of us like the man in Wall-E enough as it is?
Why do we, as a human race, have such an obsession with making life easier? The way I see it, we’re making ourselves lazy. No longer do I have to walk downstairs to phone my parents if I need to contact them when they’re out of the house, no longer do I need to wash the dishes by hand (bar a few which don’t go in the dishwasher), no longer would I need to walk down the street if I could drive. We don’t even need to leave the house to do our shopping anymore – clothes, food, household items, just get on the computer and send them to yourself.
In a world where we’re already losing our mobility through desk jobs and the internet, where we’re almost punished for going to a town to buy things – with parking prices and more expensive items in shops. It costs more to go to the gym every day than it does to sit in front of a computer and watch your Sims go to the gym.
Maybe we shouldn’t be looking at whether Artificial Intelligence will benefit our lives, maybe we should be looking at how our own intelligence is being sacrificed for an easier lifestyle.