R2D2 is probably one of the most sensitive, emotional beings that are not a creature of nature by definition. Yes, there is that philosophical question of what is a beast of nature. After all, robots are created by the human witch created in the image of God. But if we leave that aside for a second, from R2D2, HAL, BB8 and others, robots triggered our imagination for years, up to the point we’ve now started materializing their science fiction potentials and made them a permanent member of our society.
Robots are here to stay. They already control many aspects of our reality, they work in our factories. They help us in our gardens and farms as well as our homes, they work in stockrooms, serve drinks, mix medicine, they write articles, give us legal advice, help us invest money, diagnose us, drive us from one place to another and much more.
These machines we have created are the perfect representation of physical supremacy.
A few years ago I wrote about the feeling we’ve developed towards machines around us, and while they are not human, we started trusting them to the point we feel secure to outsource not just decision making but also part of our cognitive functions — memory for example. How many telephone numbers, we remember? Or how many of us still memorizing facts about history, politics, science? We trust the connection to the accumulated digitized knowledge and the touchpoint in our pocket to always be there, providing answers.
Are we “building” the next level of human evolution?
I ask myself, is it essential for robots and machines to feel? After all, what we call real is not a “thing you can touch” but our brain constructs of multi perceptions point of view. We think we know, and therefore it’s real, but it’s only but our consciousness managing expectations. Is it essential that we believe that robots can feel? Or we’d like to explore their empathy towards us?
We are creatures of association, meaning, we view the world through internal filters. We tend to place ourselves as the narrative of everything that we hear and compare someone else experiences to the one we construct within our internal mental models — and even so that experience is theoretic, we relate to it on an emotional level.
The way we build robots reflects our basic human needs. We try to teach them how our brain operates and by doing so, we encapsulate our views of the theory of mind inside machines (miserably I might add). By doing so, we’re missing the idea that when we are done, we’ll end up with a new reality of them and us.
I believe that were placed here to develop ourselves and evolve continually. Now when we came to the point where technology is not just a machine in a factory, but a natural, seamless interface that literally connects directly to our emotional brain. Shouldn’t we use that to extend our existing beyond the organic matter and encapsulate ourselves as part of an AI service platform that can enrich our experiences via holistic intelligence & emotional dispositions?
Perhaps the way to teach machines to feel is to merge with them. Creating a new species, one that is not looking at technology as an external part of our body and mind, but looks for ways to relate to our brain as an algorithm and define a hierarchy of needs that doesn’t rely on physical dexterity.