Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Robots Are Coming...

"In the lab of Hod Lipson, an expert in evolutionary robotics at Cornell, graduate students have created two computers that can speak to each other.  The 'male' computer speaks with a slight British accent, the 'female' with a syncopated Indian voice.  And what do robots say to each other?

"'What is God to you?' the female robot asks.
"'Not everything,' the male responds.
"'Not everything could still be something.'
"'Very true.'
"'I would like to believe it is.'
"'Do you believe in God?'
"'Yes, I do.'
"'Don't you want to have a body?'

The above is taken from an article, "Only Human - The evolution of a flawed species," by Tim Flannery in the December 2014 issue of Harper's Magazine.

"Surely," he writes, "Lipson's two robots could not be called human, but their fabricated 'minds' speak to each other out of learned experience.  The generation of machines envisioned by Lipson may be far more capable that this--they may, he believes, have their own emotions informed by direct contact with the world."

The question Flannery raises in this article and the question which has begged for an answer for so long is:  "What does it mean to be human?"

Maybe the robots can tell us?

Note:  The above photo was taken from an article about teaching robots (10 Hardest Things To Teach a Robot") here.

1 comment:

William Kendall said...

Of course when the time comes that the robots start looking like Rutger Hauer and remarking about ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, we're all in trouble.

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