Tag Archives: android

Are we ready to be gods? Revisited.

 

I base today’s blog on a 2013 post with a look at the world from the perspective of The Lightstream Chronicles, which takes place in the year 2159. To me, this is a very plausible future. — ESD

 

There was a time when crimes were simpler. Humans committed crimes against other humans — not so simple anymore. In that world, you have the old-fashioned mano a mano, but you also have human against synthetic, and synthetic against the human. There are creative variations as well.

It was bound to happen. No sooner than the first lifelike robots became commercially available in the late 2020’s, there were issues of ethics and misuse. Though scientists and ethicists discussed the topic in the early part of the 21st century, the problems escalated faster than the robotics industry had conceived possible.

According to the 2007 Roboethics Roadmap,

“…problems inherent in the possible emergence of human function in the robot: like consciousness, free will, self-consciousness, sense of dignity, emotions, and so on. Consequently, this is why we have not examined problems — debated in literature — like the need not to consider robot as our slaves, or the need to guarantee them the same respect, rights and dignity we owe to human workers.”1

In the 21st century many of the concerns within the scientific community centered around what we as humans might do to infringe upon the “rights” of the robot. Back in 2007, it occurred to researchers that the discussion of roboethics needed to include more fundamental questions regarding the ethics of the robots’ designers, manufacturers and users. However, once in the role of the creator-god, they did not foresee how “unprepared” for that responsibility we were as a society, and how quickly humans would pervert the robot for formerly “unethical” uses, including but not limited to their modification for crime and perversion.

Nevertheless, more than 100 years later, when synthetic human production is at the highest levels in history, the questions of ethics in both humans and their creations remain a significant point of controversy. As the 2007 Roboethics Roadmap concluded, “It is absolutely clear that without a deep rooting of Roboethics in society, the premises for the implementation of an artificial ethics in the robots’ control systems will be missing.”

After these initial introductions of humanoid robots, now seen as almost comically primitive, the technology, and in turn the reasoning, emotions, personality and realism became progressively more sophisticated. Likewise, their implementations became progressively more like the society that manufactured them. They became images of their creators both benevolent and malevolent.

Schematic1Longm
In our image?

 

 

A series of laws were enacted to prevent the use of humanoid robots for criminal intent, yet at the same time, military interests were fully pursuing dispassionate automated humanoid robots with the express purpose of extermination. It was truly a time of paradoxical technologies. To further complicate the issue were ongoing debates on the nature of what was considered “criminal”. Could a robot become a criminal without human intervention? Is something criminal if it is consensual?

These issues ultimately evolved into complex social, economic, political, and legal entanglement that included heavy government regulation and oversight where such was achievable. As this complexity and infrastructure grew to accommodate the continually expanding technology, the greatest promise and challenges came almost 100 years after those first humanoid robots. With the advent of virtual human brains now being grown in labs, the readily identifiable differences between synthetic humans and real human gradually began to disappear. The similarities were so shocking and so undetectable that new legislation was enacted to restrict the use of virtual humans, and classification system was established to ensure visible distinctions for the vast variety of social synthetics.

The concerns of the very first Roboethics Roadmap are confirmed even 150 years into the future. Synthetics are still abused and used to perpetrate crimes. Their virtual humanness only adds an element of complexity, reality, and in some cases, horror to the creativity of how they are used.

 

 1 Euron Roboethics Roadmap
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What does it mean to be human?

Earlier this week, just a couple of days after last weeks blog on robophobia, the MIT Technology Review (online) published an interview with AI futurist Martine Rothblatt. In a nutshell Ms. Rothblatt believes that conscious machines are inevitable, that evolution is no longer a theory but reality, that treating virtual beings differently than humans is tantamount to black slavery in the 19th century, and that the FDA should monitor and approve whatever hardware or software “effectively creates human consciousness.” Her core premise is something that I have covered in the blog before, and while I could spend the next few paragraphs debating some of these questionable assertions, it seems to me more interesting to ponder the fact that this discussion is going on at all.

I can find one point, that artificial consciousness is more or less inevitable, on which I agree with Rothblatt. What the article underscores is the inevitability that, “technology moves faster than politics, moves faster than policy, and often faster than ethics”1. Scarier yet is the idea that the FDA, (the people who approved bovine growth hormone) would be in charge of determining the effective states of consciousness.

All of this points to the fact that technology and science are on the cusp of a few hundred potentially life changing breakthroughs and there are days when, aside from Martine Rothblatt, no one seems to be paying attention. We need more minds and more disciplines in the discussion now so that as Rothblatt says, we don’t “…spend hundreds of years trying to dig ourselves out.” It’s that, or this will be just another example of the folly of our shortsightedness.

1.Wood, David. “The Naked Future — A World That Anticipates Your Every Move.” YouTube. YouTube, 15 Dec. 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

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Social discrimination—against robots. Is it possible?

As we know if you follow the blog, The Lightstream Chronicles is set in the year is 2159. Watching the current state of technology, the date has become increasingly uncomfortable. As I have blogged previously, this is a date that I chose primarily to justify the creation of a completely synthetic human brain capable of critical thinking, learning, logic, self-awareness and the full range of emotions. The only missing link would be a soul. Yet the more I see the exponential rate of technological advancement, the more I think we will arrive at this point probably 50 to 60 years sooner than that. Well, at least I won’t have to endure the critiques of how wrong I was.

As the story has shown, the level of artificial intelligence is quite literally, with the exception of a soul, Almost Human. (A term I coined at least two years before the television series of the same name). The social dilemma is whether we should treat them as human, with their human emotions and intelligence, are they entitled to the same rights as their human counterparts (that are nearly synthetic)? Do we have the right to make them do what we would not ask a human to do? Do we have the right to turn them off when we are finished with them? I wrote more about this in a blog some 50 pages ago regarding page 53 of Season 2.

Societally, though most have embraced the technology, convenience and companionship that synthetic humans provide, there is a segment that is not as impressed. They cite the extensive use of synths for crime and perversion and what many consider the disappearance of human to human contact. The pro-synthetic majority have branded them robophobes.

As the next series of episodes evolve we will see a pithy discussion between the human Kristin Broulliard and the synthetic Keiji-T. In many respects, Keiji is the superior intellect with capabilities and protocols that far exceed even the most enhanced humans. Indeed, there is an air of tension. Is she jealous? Does she feel threatened? Will she hold her own?

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If you could, would you erase a memory from your past?

Erasing memories

Back on page 55, we discussed the idea of erasing memories. But here are some things to ponder along those lines.

In 2159, the process of medical erasure is common, though not without risks. As reported earlier,

“… Under normal circumstances, portions of the brain that house memories can be accessed and much like tracking through a DVD selectively erased, but the procedure is more difficult than it sounds. Memories are stacked, like thin layers and they are not always sequential. If the procedure samples too deeply, or grabs a snippet that doesn’t belong, the subject can awaken missing key components of their personality or identity map. In extreme cases, illegal intrusions using cheap, makeshift headjacking devices can disrupt the autonomic nervous system affecting heart rate and respiration and ultimately resulting in death.”

In Sean’s case, the consulting physician has already recommended erasure. This is probably due to the severity of Sean’s injuries, the fact that he was raped, and based on the evidence, probably by a synth. This presents a problem for the police who, with access to Sean’s memories, could replay the whole scene (from Sean’s point of view) and identify the perpetrator(s). While that sounds like the fastest and easiest solution to finding the bads, it might not be that easy. The brain, all by itself, may have already suppressed the memories deep into Sean’s subconscious and digging them out might cause more damage. Some latent memories, may linger, remnants of what was sent into cold storage by the brain, but they may be erratic and fractioned. Playing around with memories can be a challenge.

However, non-trauma-based memories have been routine medical procedures for a long time. If you would prefer to wipe out most of your memories of your ex, other than a familiar face, it’s possible. Of course, the more you wish to erase the more likely you are to experience subtle behavioral changes. Whether we like it or not, what happened yesterday or last year or twenty yeas ago affected you and possibly helped to define portions of the personality you exhibit today — both good and bad behaviors. Most people in the 22nd century, however — possibly realizing that they have a couple hundred years to get over it — have adopted a casual attitude toward messing around with the body and the mind. If it’s a quick fix for momentary discomfort, most people will opt for the change.

What do you think? Would you erase a memory from your past?

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In the cyberpunk future: A day in the life of our domestic android (synthetic human).

2159: Journal entry (excerpt)

Ed. note: Ever wonder what the average day is like for a domestic synth? Since we met Marie-D last week, here is an excerpt from her memory logs, in synopsis style removing the technical details.

 

Marie-D

Domestic Au Pair in the employ of CSO Kristin Broulliard, New Asia Police, Residing at 180-22 Carrillon Tower, Hong Kong, New Asia

Activity log for 7.11.2159.

0445

Disengaged remote power restoration and diagnostic. OK. Internal systems check. OK.

0449

Systems check for Carrillon Tower. Floor 139 power surge. Relayed to building management. TG-7AK. 180-22. OK.

0451

Activated Maitre-deux™ kitchen food and beverage replicator. Model FVX-GNN42H71000. Configured French Roast Beans, ground semi-fine. Settings: French Press. Temperature: 92.6 C. 325.309 ml. Bone China tea cup with Heather motif, and matching saucer, serving tray, ebony.

0457

Kristin Broulliard’s Bedroom. Actuate sound system on 30 second fade. Mozart – (K.622) Clarinet Concerto in A.

0501

Miss Broulliard awakes. Recommend chem adjustment to alleviate grogginess. Coffee meets her approval.

0503 

Miss Broulliard requests 2840 ml. non-fat Greek yogurt, slightly sweet with almonds (toasted and salted on top), and a refill on coffee

0505

Prepare requests at thé Maitre-deux refilling the coffee and serving the yogurt in small ceramic bowl. Garnish with orange zest.

0511

Return to Miss Broulliard with breakfast. I inquire as to which of her NAP bio-suits she would like to wear. She requests pearl. I lay this out on the aqueous mattress and complete a systems check on the bioware sensing of the suit. Diaphoresis sensors are not functioning properly. Diagnostic reveals that axillary nodes require replacement.

0517

Replacement nodes are replicated and replaced while Miss Broulliard stretches and does yoga routine. Observe.

0542

Prepare steam bath for Miss Broulliard.

0557

Towel Miss Broulliard and help her into her bio-suit.

0600

System check for mag shuttle. No delays this morning.

0600

Miss Broulliard asked about the success of Chloe’s trip to the Luminous Implants store with me on 07.10.2159. I told her that Chloe was shy at first but the Sales ESS put her at ease and the installation took only a few minutes. Chloe was surprise because it didn’t hurt. Later that day we practices the hand gestures from the infusion program. Chloe knew all the child programs. I told her she would be very proud.

0601

Miss Broulliard enters Chloe’s bedroom and wakes Chloe. They talk about Chloe’s trip to the Luminous Implants store. Chloe shows Miss Broulliard her new implants. They talk for several minutes. Chloe tells Miss Broulliard that I replaced the eye on Mr. Hall the teddy bear. Miss Broulliard and Chloe agree that Marie-D is, “the best”.

0618

System check for mag shuttle. An accident is reported at the Old Bailey Station and there is an 8 minute delay on the Charter Road Line. Miss Broulliard mumbles, “Another suicide,” and says she should get started for Police Headquarters because of the delay.

0622

Miss Broulliard leaves for work.

0622

I inquire as to what Chloe would like for breakfast.

[END OF EXCERPT]

 

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Can we still march to a different drummer?

p67

Last week I proposed the question about how we will deal with the idea of our lives being “naked.” I’m probably wearing my glass-half-empty hat today, but if I had to guess what the pulse would be around the globe, I would probably say that 85 to 90 percent of the world hasn’t thought about it at all. Another 10 to 14 percent have thought about it but only superficially, not long enough or deeply enough to form an opinion one way or the other. The remaining 2 percent or so, are probably scattered about between excitement and dread. I have no data to support this other than my own secondary research through the media, culture and the arts; academic papers, futurist and forecasting journals, so the pulse I feel may not be at all real. With that disclaimer, I will dissect that scattered about group.

At one end of the scale are those who consider themselves to be “tech savvy”, those who are comfortable accommodating the latest and most advanced technology into their lifestyles  (and I probably have to include myself in that group) calmly, and maybe even eagerly enfold whatever it is either because we think it is just too cool to pass by or because we think it will be a real enhancement to our life. At the other end of the scale are those, (probably deeper thinkers) who look askance at every new development as something just short of reading the supermarket tabloids. They have a “this too shall pass,” approach and a “wait and see” perspective. Eventually they too may adopt the new technology, but by then, it won’t be new anymore, and they will have fully vetted it as either fad or functional. Some of this second group will be motivated by cost, as early-adopters will always pay top dollar for hot technology. Some will be satisfied with whatever level of technology they are currently using and have no time to fuss with new software or user interfaces, or operating systems. This group is probably not worried about being left behind.

Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum are a handful that might are a bit concerned with how ubiquitous it is all becoming and how it is no longer we who are enfolding technology but technology that is enfolding us. For this group, the idea is disconcerting. Now let’s see, where was I? Ah, yes, back to email…

Even the folks at the opposite end of the early adopter scale will eventually come around won’t they? I mean, they really don’t have a choice, do they? When whatever technology they are using decides to quit, it’s not like they can go back to using the old model. If they want to continue using the functionality they are accustomed to they have to buy the newest. That’s how it works, even for those who are not so quick to embrace it all. Maybe no one wants to be left behind, not really.

It looks suspiciously like a race. The destination is final digital convergence of everything we are. That’s not just alarmist Alex Jones stuff. Guys like Ray Kurzweil and companies like Google would love to see us all with non-invasive brain implants that connect directly to the Cloud, and they foresee that day happening before 2050. Hence, in that day we will all be of one mind, interconnected by our thoughts and accessing data, entertainment, virtual reality 24/7. Cool huh? We will be lightning fast, always on, and smart as a whip. That would include, of course, the kind and compassionate along with the scoundrels. If this is all moving too fast for you, keep in mind that it is just a sliver of where science and technology are leading.  Keep in mind that everything else, like biotech, and genetic engineering, and every other aspect of business and commerce, politics and society will be moving at a similar pace. But relax, we’ll adapt, just like we always do.

In a recent interview, Kurzweil may have pinpointed the underlying pressure that we will to bear to adopt the latest and most advanced. “I think human and computer intelligence will be mixed together just as it is now. We have conflicts today between groups of humans that are both enhanced by intelligent technology. A war between a group that used the latest technology and a group of humans who eschewed modern technology would be a very short war.” 1

All those in favor, say “Aye.”

All of this sarcasm has a point. What really motivates us to accept and enfold technology. Is it because we are afraid of being left behind when the rest of the world is doing it? Are we destined to be motivated by fear that our neighbor has an upload port behind her ear and we don’t? What  if the children across the street have brain enhancements that allow them to learn faster and retain more information, should my kids have it, too? It’s time to think about this. It is a possible future.

Next week: How this applies to The Lightstream Chronicles.

1.Segall, Eli. “Futurist Ray Kurzweil Predicts In-body Computers and a Potential War With machines.” Las Vegas Sun 26 Jan. 2013: n. pag. LasVegasSun.com. 26 Jan. 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

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An adult web comic drama, a graphic novel, a design fiction and food for thought.

Web Comic drama

This week Col. Chen makes a snide ultimatum with holographic aplomb from his technology enhanced gloves. Of course, being able to conjure up holograms from your fingertips is no more marvelous in 2159 than querying Siri and probably just as curious or pretentious. But then again, Lee Chen is a complicated individual.

The twenty-four-hour deadline.
The twenty-four-hour deadline.

When writing The Lightstream Chronicles, which I consider to be both a work of science fiction as well as a study in design fiction, I knew that it was important to portray real people in this future scenario. These are people who are dealing with the world, with new bodies, new behaviors, new vices and addictions, and yet the same longings for relationship and meaning. It is a world that has designed technology into everything, but there is no reason to expect that the technological design of the future will become any less commonplace to us then than it is for us now, though it may become more transparent. Showing off your latest iPhone or tablet will be a thing of the past. Future tech will be hidden away in our bodies and our chemistry and our genetics. Glowing fingertips in the color of your choice, and your skin-tight superbod will be your swag.

Continuing in a similar thread with last week, my novel takes place in a time when artificial intelligence does indeed exist and we have created synthetic humans that are difficult to distinguish from the real thing. To further confuse things, even humans born naturally (from other humans) have been enhanced and genetically improved to the point that aging is no longer an issue and death is no longer inevitable. People don’t have to be sad, or anxious. They can learn while they sleep and choose any body or physique they wish, the color of their eyes, their hair, essentially everything for which we currently have few choices.

A book that was foundational to all of my research was The Transhuman Condition by Braden Allenby and Allen Sarewitz both professors at Arizona State University. The authors begin with the assertion that, in many respects, the transhuman condition already exists in various forms. Through drugs, replacement parts, even eyeglasses we are already enhanced though we take it for granted. They say that we are currently the most advanced iteration of our species.

The authors discuss the current-day organization Humanity+,which, “…states on its website (http://humanityplus.org) that its goal is ‘to support discussion and public awareness of emerging technologies that expand human capacities, and to anticipate and propose solutions for the potential consequences of emerging technologies,’(6).” Essentially, Allenby and Sarewitz see this a naive approach. “To start with, the transhumanist assumption that, what ever ‘human’ is, it will only be improved and enhanced— not transcended, rendered obsolete, or even degraded— by the development of transhumanism has the effect of burying both arbitrary values and limits in the definitions of the words such as ‘improve’ and ‘enhance (7)’.” But nonetheless, “The ambitions of transhumanism are comprehensive, extending beyond health and longevity to radically enhanced intelligence, creativity, and emotional capabilities, conscious control over the attributes of offspring and the evolution of the species, and even a greater capacity for mutual understand through, for example, massively networked brain-to-brain interfaces [the lightstream]. At the limits is total transcendence (8).”

Quoting Stewart Brand in the first Whole Earth Catalog in 1968, “We are as gods and might as well get good at it(10).’”, the authors highlight evidence that the advancement of humanity has repercussions on everything, citing the atomic bomb as a key example of creating power but not the mind to accompany it. “And as technological evolution continues to outpace the grasp of human intent, we have little time to waste. These are the questions of our time…(11)” Allenby and Sarewitz conclude this chapter with an ominous note. “As we curl our fingers around the trigger of nuclear weapons, gaze into skies of the carbon cycle, and unleash technologies that are changing the very essence of our physical and cognitive selves, we are already transhuman. But this is not the kind of transhumanism we thought we were creating , nor is it one we understand(11).”
It strikes me that these things to which we attribute the Enlightenment are all about limits. Total freedom is anything but — total freedom is anarchy, resulting in less freedom. We talk about removing limits and at the same time setting them. We are confused, indeed. At the heart of The Lightstream Chronicles is an exploration of what we have done, or might indeed do to ourselves.

 

Allenby, Braden, and Daniel Sarewitz. The Techno-Human Condition. 1st Ed. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2011. 38, 39, 63,160,161, 163,165. Print.

 

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Graphic novel or web comic, it’s still serious business. Plus a CGI rendering update.

p 55

This week we’re peering into the regen pod where Sean floats suspended in a amniotic soup. As they encounter the visual of Sean’s injuries, Kristin Broulliard and the team are a bit taken aback and the crime takes on a more visceral punch. Despite the fact that modern medical science has found a way to repair this kind of trauma, the memories, however repressed they might be, could still be stored up inside Sean’s head — or not. Under normal circumstances, portions of the brain that house memories can be accessed and much like tracking through a DVD, selectively erased. The procedure is more difficult than it sounds. Memories are stacked, like thin layers and they are not always sequential. If the procedure samples too deeply, or grabs a snippet that does’t belong, the subject can awaken missing key components of their personality or identity map. In extreme cases, illegal intrusions using cheap, makeshift headjacking devices, can disrupt the autonomic nervous system affecting heart rate and respiration and ultimately resulting in death. Sean’s fate remains to be seen.

Would you erase the memories?

Chief Science Officer Broulliard is a bit taken aback.
Chief Science Officer Broulliard is a bit taken aback.

Progress update

While The Lightstream Chronicles exists as a complete storyline in screenplay form, the graphic novel obviously evolves more slowly. This week I expect to put the finishing touches on Chapter 2 and begin the Chapter 3 Prologues. I have slated a number of new pages and scenes. There are 6 chapters in total. Chapter 2 is the longest and chapter 3 is the shortest. As soon as I get the entire project in the bag, I’ll start posting a spread each week, or possibly two postings per week. Believe me I’m as anxious as my readers to “see” how this ends. But of course, I can always change it up. Let me know your thoughts here. Thanks.

 

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Regenerating damaged human tissue. A design fiction chrysalis. The Lightstream Chronicles online graphic novel and web comic.

The regen room. Page 54.

As I mentioned in an earlier post,

“…many accident victims and their injuries can be repaired, their body parts replaced, or regrown and their virtually lifeless bodies, regenerated using advanced stem-cell-based biomedical treatments. Because of the gravity of Sean’s injuries he will most likely receive an immersive regen. Patients treated with immersive regen are often coherent and functioning in a day or less.”

Sean’s injuries, though most likely terminal or resulting in serious impairment or disability in the 21st century, can be repaired or “regenerated” in a matter of hours. The process is known as regen and consists of an induced coma and submersion into a muculent, stem-cell-enriched, liquid – something like amniotic fluid on steroids. The patient actually breathes the fluid and it is absorbed into the skin. Sean’s broken bones were set before submersion, but once broken bones are set, cells regain their original undamaged functionality, the regen goes about sealing wounds and restoring damaged tissues, according to their original genetic blueprint.

The brain and its subtle intricacies are not always as predictable. Brain science by 2159 has been relatively successful in recording, restoring and implanting memory, however, severe brain injuries may still result in permanent damage. In Sean’s case there is the added complication of headjacking which can, if botched, result in a brain death. SInce Sean is the only survivor of the recent series of rape/headjackings in DownTown, his ability to remember the attack could shed some much needed light on the perpetrators of the crime.

Notes on building the regen pod

Here I was looking for something rather organic, not plantlike, but possibly like an insect chrysalis, pupa, or a freeform amniotic sac. (I found the photo below, after designing the pod BTW). I also wanted to suggest that the fluid contained therein was thick enough that the body could literally float, suspended. Then, a bio-electrical charge is also present throughout the fluid and serves to accelerate absorption of the regen into the tissues. These electrical charges can be seen swirling about and illuminating the fluid. Hopefully, all of this comes across to some extent. The circular, ring-like devices generate an electromagnetic force that keeps the body upright and they can also be used to channel regen fluid directly into the body, such as the tubes that are inserted into Sean’s nose.

Common_crow_pupa.1
Common_crow_pupa.1
The Regen Pod.
The Regen Pod.

All of this is somewhat easier said than done. The refractive qualities of the regen pod, reflections, lighting, and electrical charges proved to be incredibly costly rendering choices. Whenever the pod was featured I could expect many anxious hours of waiting for renderings to materialize. I’d love to get your thoughts from readers on the 22nd century sound effects that might go with these scenes.

 

 

1 Chrysalis photo courtesy of Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pupa#Chrysalis

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Design fiction and roboethics: Are we ready to be god? The Lightstream Chronicles online graphic novel continues.

p53: Assaulted by a non-human?

There was a time when crimes were simpler. Humans committed crimes against other humans — not so simple any more. In 2159 you have the old fashioned mano a mano but you also have human against synthetic, and synthetic against human. There are creative variations as well.

No sooner than the first lifelike robots became commercially available in the late 2020’s there were issues of ethics and misuse. The problems escalated faster than the robotics industry had conceived possible,” problems inherent in the possible emergence of human function in the robot: like consciousness, free will, self consciousness, sense of dignity, emotions, and so on. Consequently, this is why we have not examined problems — debated in literature — like the need not to consider robot as our slaves, or the need to guarantee them the same respect, rights and dignity we owe to human workers.”1 In the 21st century many of the concerns within the scientific community centered around what we as humans might do to infringe upon the “rights” of the robot. And though the earliest treatises in roboethics included more fundamental questions regarding the ethics of the robots’ designers, manufacturers and users, now in the role of the creator-god they did not foresee how “unprepared” for that responsibility we were and how quickly humans would pervert the robot for numerous “unethical” uses, including but not limited to their modification for crime and perversion.

Nevertheless, more than 100 years later, when synthetic human production is at the highest levels in history, the questions of ethics in both humans and their creations remain a significant point of controversy. As the 2007 Roboethics Roadmap concluded, “It is absolutely clear that without a deep rooting of Roboethics in society, the premises for the implementation of an artificial ethics in the robots’ control systems will be missing.”

After these initial introductions of humanoid robots, now seen as almost comically primitive, the technology, and in turn the reasoning, emotions, personality and realism became progressively more sophisticated. Likewise their implementations became progressively more like the society that manufactured them. They became images of their creators both benevolent and malevolent.

Schematic1Longm
Humans building themselves. Better?

A series of laws were enacted to prevent humanoid robots to be used for criminal intent, yet at the same time military interests were fully pursuing dispassionate automated humanoid robots with the express intent of extermination. It was truly a time of paradoxical technologies. To further complicate the issue were ongoing debates on the nature of what was considered “criminal”. Could a robot become a criminal without human intervention? Is something criminal if it is consensual?

These issues ultimately evolved into complex social, economic, political, and legal entanglement that included heavy government regulation and oversight where such was achievable. As this complexity and infrastructure grew to accommodate the constantly expanding technology, the greatest promise and challenges came in almost 100 years after those first humanoid robots when virtual human brains were being grown in the lab, the heretofore readily identifiable differences between synthetic humans and real human gradually began to disappear. The similarities were so shocking and so undetectable that new legislation was enacted to restrict the use of virtual humans. The classification system was enacted to insure visible distinctions for the vast variety of social synthetics.

Still, the concerns of the very first Roboethics Roadmap were confirmed even 150 years into the future. Synthetics were still abused, and used to perpetrate crimes. Their virtual humanness only added a element of complexity, reality and in some cases, horror to the creativity of how they could be used.

 1 Euron Roboethics Roadmap

 

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