What do you think of Artificial Intelligence? Exciting? Scary? Unenthusiastic? Confused? Disbelieving?
Well whichever response category you fall under, prepare to have your mind blown!
I tend to think that I’m fairly informed when it come to emerging technologies, but I was amazed to see how realistic they’ve got androids looking already.
If you haven’t already seen this then I hope you’re as shocked as I was when I watched it. First model was out in 2010. I want to know what they’ll look like in 2030.
An article from Mail&Guardian called ‘Conscious’ robots on the horizon laid out some other news in the field of android developing.
We see footage of Honda’s astonishing Asimo robot delivering a tray of drinks (cafés run by such cute humanoids are envisioned for Tokyo), a geminoid of a traditional comic storyteller performing in Japan (the human version is a national treasure, Katsura Beicho, aged 86) and a shop-window mannequin programmed with 65 human states of emotion. To make the androids more life-like some are programmed with subconscious movements.
Last month, while Ishiguro was in Europe, his geminoid gave four lectures in Japan on his behalf. Its computer converts his voice into simulated lip movements.
Ishiguro told his students they could kick “him” because it was only a robot but they recoiled at the idea. Unlike a Skype conference, the android has a tangible presence, a physical projection of oneself.
Now we are still a long way off of actually creating robots that can think and feel for themselves but it’s still possible to imagine some of the questions that might come up such as:
If they can think and feel the same way we can, will they deserve equal rights?
Will they want free time after work?
What will they do in their free time?
Film makers and writers have been toying with the idea of thinking-robots for quite some time such as Philip K. Dick’s infamous Blade Runner, (or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep).
Here are three short films from SingulairtyWeblog that should provoke some deeper thoughts on the topic if you are interested.
Kara is the story of an android named Kara becoming self-aware while being assembled and desperately insisting that her sentience is a feature and not a bug. I find the realism moving and the poignancy of the ethical questions raised with respect to the freedom of all sentient beings, no matter their substrate, totally heart-breaking. Short clips like that might be a good way to put the spotlight on the ethics and issues surrounding artificial intelligence, non-human sentience and the potential that speciesm or bioism will eventually become no less-repugnant than racism.
RL7 is an eight-foot tall combat robot that goes on the run after malfunctioning with vivid memories of once being human. As its creators and the military close in, RL7 battles its way to uncovering the shocking truth behind its mysterious visions and past.