Robots: present joke, future quandary.
I believe you will enjoy this short (9-frame) comic. It has humor and, I believe, an actual worry for the future.
http://i.imgur.com/MRl9H95.jpg (link here, image below)
The piece is by one ‘Jim Benton’. ( http://jimbenton.com/ )
Suppose that we could create a new brain, a robot brain, and lo and behold a mind were to rise from it. I believe that if the resultant ‘robot beings’ of these minds, brains, and bodies (I here presume), were able to assimilate their own (or our) culture, and to each form an individual identity, then we would be faced with substantive problems. That’s not to say that substantive problems wouldn’t arise if their existence were unlike that of the individual, but I am just here (digressing and) saying that if we cannot relate to it, then the ethical worries may be less or nonexistent. To understand me here, think of how we address lower forms of life, bacteria, bugs, fish etc.
Now, with regard to these problems of robot sentience, your first problem would be those regular (ha!) ethical worries of rights and protections. These would ultimately lean either to give them the same rights that we have, or to limit their rights to protect ours over theirs. It really is a binary option with regard to any such being that you are actually considering with regard to genuine ethical worries.
The second, and far more substantial problem, is that if we do not limit them, but instead allow them to enjoy their liberty as we do, it could open them up to reproduce (maybe even mass reproduction) and to further develop themselves with each iteration. We may then, if they choose, become completely outnumbered by a new form of life that evolves so quickly, at first faster than we can follow, then soon enough faster than we can even comprehend.
hmm… on that note, here’s a video from the Human Brain Project.
Please note that I am not fear-mongering about robots and then pointing to these scientists and their good endeavor to expand science. Much to the opposite. I was just thinking about real problems of the future, and such a future seems more real with each advancement of our mastery of technology and science.
I trust that we will learn as we go. Though there’s no promises that it won’t be awkward…
Just imagine the moment where a human is first confronted by a sentient mind that was the product of conscious synthesis rather than a long succession of biological and social evolution.
Quite an amazing future ahead of us.
Peace out and enjoy the weekend