There are currently robots being made by professors from MIT and the like, which will resemble humans and will be programmed to respond to humans in normal, societally-appropriate ways. Some people are excited. Others are scared.

It’s all discussed in an article from The Chronicle. The author interviewed Professor Sherry Turkle, who is involved with cutting-edge computer science technology, but who devoted much of the the last decade to writing books about the possible threats they pose to humans forming and maintaining relationships, and warnings of what may come from our overdependence on technology.

David Levy on the other hand, another expert in the field and author of Love and Sex with Robots argues the merits of having robot-humanoid companions, such as providing socially inept people with relationships they may never have otherwise. He proposes that by the year 2050 many people will be hiring skilled, trained robots to babysit their kids, and some might even choose to marry robots.

I’m baffled by the progress scientists have made in this field, since I had no idea that humanoid robots were in the works, let alone might be commonplace 40 years from now. This article (courtesy of Eunju Namkung) provides both the pros and the cons that come with this technology, though it leans towards Turkle’s point of view, emphasizing the dangers over the benefits. I find myself agreeing with Turkle that in a world in which people rely on technology for emotional support or companionship, society will slowly break down. Already human connections are being severed due to the availability and accessibility of electronic devices (although they present numerous socializing opportunities too of course), and so with the opportunity to interact with a pre-programmed machine which will answer the way you want it to and to which you owe nothing, this degenerative state can only worsen.

I’m not a Luddite, but I don’t think electronics should replace the potential for human interaction, which it would do were scientists to program machines to resemble and simulate humans.

Oh, and here’s a Whitest Kids U Know video which demonstrates the dangers robots present.

One comment on “Future of Comp-Sci Technology Poses Threat to Society As We Know It”

  1. howard beale Says: