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Apocalypse NAO: College Studies the Theological Ramifications of Robotics

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the why-did-you-program-me-to-sin? dept.

Robotics 176

malachiorion writes "Have you heard the one about the Christian college in North Carolina that bought a humanoid robot, to figure out whether or not bots are going to charm us into damnation (dimming or cutting our spiritual connection to God)? The robot itself is pretty boring, but the reasoning behind its purchase—a religious twist on the standard robo-phobia—is fascinating. From the article: '“When the time comes for including or incorporating humanoid robots into society, the prospect of a knee-jerk kind of reaction from the religious community is fairly likely, unless there’s some dialogue that starts happening, and we start examining the issue more closely,” says Kevin Staley, an associate professor of theology at SES. Staley pushed for the purchase of the bot, and plans to use it for courses at the college, as well as in presentations around the country. The specific reaction Staley is worried about is a more extreme version of the standard, secular creep factor associated with many robots. “From a religious perspective, it could be more along the lines of seeing human beings as made in God’s image,” says Staley. “And now that we’re relating to a humanoid robot, possibly perceiving it as evil, because of its attempt to mimic something that ought not to be mimicked.”'"

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robotic slave worshippers (0)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 7 months ago | (#46326405)

If we are created in the image of god, wouldn't you want a dedicated group of slave robots worshiping you and doing thy bidding?

Re:robotic slave worshippers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46326555)

I love the way old people gather in groups at the service counter in the grocery store. Being waited on and made to feel important. I go there when I have horribly raunchy fartgas and lots of it. Hilarious to see the old dinosaurs try to pretend not to notice the rancid anal fumes of mine. Especially the silent chain farts. Yeah this is what I think of the debt you left me to inherit! Enjoy!

Re:robotic slave worshippers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46326635)

I love the way old people gather in groups at the service counter in the grocery store. Being waited on and made to feel important. I go there when I have horribly raunchy fartgas and lots of it. Hilarious to see the old dinosaurs try to pretend not to notice the rancid anal fumes of mine. Especially the silent chain farts. Yeah this is what I think of the debt you left me to inherit! Enjoy!

It isn't their fault you're a loser.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 7 months ago | (#46326615)

I think the evaluation of Asimov's 3 Laws would be a worth while major. God help us all.

I think we... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46326847)

..that we should skip that and become the robots ourselves.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46327543)

That was done. It was in a series of book know as 'the robot series' by Isaac Asimov

You should read them. Or not.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 7 months ago | (#46328635)

Better yet, a comparison of Asimov's 3 Laws and Christ's two greatest commandments (is rule 3 really necessary? Given recent developments in Switzerland [dailymail.co.uk] and Belgium [cnn.com] , perhaps it is).

Re:robotic slave worshippers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46326631)

If we are created in the image of god, wouldn't you want a dedicated group of slave robots worshiping you and doing thy bidding?

(I understand the humour... but:)
God created humans in His image AND SET THEM FREE - to worship Him if they choose... or not (and from your comment i understand that you are obviously not a "slave" forced to worship Him!).

Re:robotic slave worshippers (-1, Flamebait)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#46326755)

>God created humans in His image AND SET THEM FREE

FFS, there is no God. You are spouting pure bullshit. Stop it and grow up.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46326857)

>God created humans in His image AND SET THEM FREE

FFS, there is no God. You are spouting pure bullshit. Stop it and grow up.

Says you. But since there's not enough evidence to make a conclusive assertion either way, coupled with the fact that here in America people are free to believe whatever they want (regardless of how ridiculous YOU might find it)...

Stop it and grow up, indeed.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (0)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#46327027)

It's not a 'either way' thing. Your construction of God is extremely unlikely. That the universe is as we see it is far more likely. Hanging onto wrong and worse, promoting it as the truth is evil.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (1, Troll)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46327097)

It's not a 'either way' thing. Your construction of God is extremely unlikely.

Amazing! You can read minds? That must be the case, as I never actually mentioned what "my construction of God" was. I was merely pointing out that other people are welcome to hold opinions and beliefs you disagree with, and that to call them "bullshit" even though you have absolutely zero evidence to back your assertion (real scientific of you, BTW) is childish and an example of incorrect reasoning.

That the universe is as we see it is far more likely.

Yea, that must be why physicists always agree on everything, and never update their models, huh? Yup, the entire universe and the mechanics behind it exist only as we perceive and understand them today, and that will never change. Yup yup.

Hanging onto wrong and worse, promoting it as the truth is evil.

I agree, so if you would please stop speaking in absolutes as if you have evidence to back your position, when you actually have nothing but your own preconceived notions, that would be fantastic. Glad you've seen the light, so to speak.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (0)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 7 months ago | (#46328663)

At present time "the universe is as we see it" means that due to quantum mechanics, you can't even be sure the gravity will be switched on when you get up in the morning.

"as we see it" may just be a local maximum reversal of entropy that is entirely overwhelmed by the chaos elsewhere in the universe.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#46328785)

>"as we see it" may just be a local maximum reversal of entropy that is entirely overwhelmed by the chaos elsewhere in the universe.

But that's exactly what we see.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46327163)

That's not how it works. Sorry. You seem to have an assertions the God Exists. Show the evidence.
You do know that you can't prove a negative? It's on YOU to prove it.

The logical default position is there is no God.
Now, if you have actual evidences, I would be interested in reading it.

Sadly yes, People in America are free to believe and shove their belief down other peoples throat without evidence,counter to evidence, and without actual information. which would be fine except they use the ignorance and stupidity to force policy on others. Hence, taking away from people with actual facts and science.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46327931)

Why should I prove anything to you? I have no more obligation to prove God exists than you have to prove he doesn't. Burden of proof is an artificial convention. A wise man doesn't stubbornly wait to be convinced, he is intellectually honest, avidly seeks truth and proves things to himself.

You don't believe? Cool. I would like to say I hope that works out for you, but I can't because I hope for something different. There can be only one, after all. But hey. You have a right to your opinion and I see no reason to disabuse you of it. Your tone indicates to me you are not open to other possibilities anyway.

As for proof, does the sun exist? Can you prove it? Can you prove it without resorting to personal experience, and without resorting to the testimony of others? Have you touched it? Or is this the best you can lamely say: "I've seen it and felt it." A billion people would say the same thing about God, but for some reason their testimony and experience is invalid.

Maybe you are one of very few who have actually done science on the sun. Now should we listen, because you are an expert and have devoted your life to uncovering this mystery? Yet you will not listen to those who are experts on the question of God.

Can a blind man prove the sun exists? So he can feel warmth, but doesn't know where it comes from. He can eventually figure out that plants grow, but doesn't know why. Does his blindness mean that the sun doesn't exist, because he can't prove it? Now what if the blind man lives in a hospital and has never felt the sun. Only eaten food that he is given. How could he ever know of it, much less prove it? Yet it is absolutely vital to his very life. At best he hears others tell of it, tell what it does, tell how they have felt it and even seen it. He scoffs and calls them liars, because he is so much more wise! He sees so much more clearly than they do!

Science is useful. In the end it is only a means to knowledge. An imperfect means, to a subset of all possible knowledge. There are other means to truth, such as mathematics and history. And these do not cover all possibilities either.

Science is empirical. If you limit yourself to the physically empirical, then you function on the level of a stupid brutish animal. Human beings are rational, capable of higher thought and abstract reasoning. Nobody is forcing it on you, but contemplation of higher things is noble and it is your birthright.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (3, Interesting)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46328101)

Assuming you strive to be a wise man, and if you are indeed intellectually honest, why do you stack fallacy upon fallacy in your post? Just at a glance I spot several non sequiturs, undistributed thirds, an ad hominem, false equivocation, and implicit acceptance of appeals to authority. And that's just skimming. Do you understand how hard you make it for yourself to be taken seriously? If you want to tell people about what is true and what is false, you have to follow the rules that allow you to determine what is true and false. Even God has to obey the laws of logic, so you should probably follow his example.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (0)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 7 months ago | (#46328677)

The evidence is that without God, there is no reason to believe that physical laws governing the universe would exist, and thus, we should all disappear in a puff of quantum fluctuation.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46328301)

I'll just stop here and say that you are spouting the same bullshit. Saying it twice doesn't make it more so.

slave to student loans (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 7 months ago | (#46326833)

slave to student loans and one of the few ways out is to get into a good prison and keep going back in after your time is up.

Re:robotic slave worshippers (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 7 months ago | (#46328605)

Especially if "in the image of God" has more to do with spirituality/place in the universe than say, the actual visual photons?

We won't have to worry for long. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46326421)

The takeover will be swift and hopefully painless.

"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (3, Insightful)

ffkom (3519199) | about 7 months ago | (#46326485)

This is non-news for nerds, stuff that does not matter, at all.

Religious people say and do irrational, stupid, arbitrary stuff all the time. Discussing robots "theologically" is just another boring instance of this.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (-1, Troll)

Langalf (557561) | about 7 months ago | (#46326569)

Thank you for the standard knee-jerk, "rational" response to anything even vaguely religious on SlashDot. It restores my faith in the utter stupidity of humanity, atheists and agnostics included.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46328351)

O fuck off. Live in your imaginary world all day long, just shut the fuck up about it.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (0)

almitydave (2452422) | about 7 months ago | (#46326579)

On the contrary, widespread public acceptance of humanoid robots could matter a great deal, and reasons for potential opposition is worth studying. I'm a nerd and it matters to me.

And dismissing the whole study of theology because of your own suppositions is pretty closed-minded. Properly done, theology is a science (an ordered body of knowledge obtained from the application of logic to axioms), and I'm tired of this bigoted "religion = irrational" nonsense I see so often. Yes, sometimes religious people say "irrational, stupid, and arbitrary" things, but I've heard plenty of the same from anti-religion people as well.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (2, Informative)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46326707)

Theology is not a science. Science involves experiments, and not of the 'thought' variety: empirically testable hypotheses.

Also, while there are indeed non-religious people who believe irrational and arbitrary things, religious people are grouped together on the basis of their irrational and arbitrary beliefs. It's the difference between a sack of 'things that were at one point in time attached to something made of iron' and a sack of magnets; having been attached to iron doesn't really tell you anything else about what kind of thing it is, but being a magnet does.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (1)

Langalf (557561) | about 7 months ago | (#46326775)

Theology is not a science. Science involves experiments, and not of the 'thought' variety: empirically testable hypotheses.

So, I guess that rules out multiverse "theories" as science.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (3, Insightful)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46326809)

It does. Multiverse theories have been around for a long while, and until they are framed in terms of testable hypotheses (some of them never will be because as posited they prohibit causal interaction between universes) they won't be part of a scientific theory.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (2)

ffkom (3519199) | about 7 months ago | (#46326875)

If a theory is not accompanied by descriptions of tests that can be used to verify or falsify the theory, or to value its correctness relative to existing or competing theories, then it is indeed not science.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46327847)

Correct. Theology is a subset of philosophy, which is a higher order than science.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 7 months ago | (#46327913)

And subject to logic...oops.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 7 months ago | (#46328719)

Mine too. Stupid spontaneous /. logout.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#46326789)

You can do predicate calculus with any set of predicates, but if your predicates are flat out wrong, as in theology, then it won't actually achieve any substantive logical deductions.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46326859)

The deductions (provided they follow the rules of predicate logic) will be valid, but not sound.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#46326991)

Indeed.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 7 months ago | (#46327439)

But you are presupposing that the predicates are wrong. A rational approach would be to take each directly untestable predicate (God exists being the obvious one, but probably not useful isolated from other untestable predicates) and see if that predicate (or its negative) can be combined with other tested-true predicates to reach a testably false conclusion, thus disproving (or proving, if based on the negative) the original predicate.

A rational person who chooses to believe in God (and the idea is only slightly more ridiculous than a rational person choosing to disbelieve in gods) could also easily arrange experiments based not on the *existence* of god, but on the *belief* in the existence of god. Theology is after all not just a study of God, but also of religion and it's impact on humanity - things which undeniably do exist.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (0)

dargaud (518470) | about 7 months ago | (#46326979)

Properly done, theology is a science (an ordered body of knowledge obtained from the application of logic to axioms)

A set of axioms that starts with 0=1.

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46327261)

"Properly done, theology is a science "
are you stupid? That's not science, that's not how science work.

Science is a method for teasing out how thing in the world work. Every time science has been pointed at religion, religion does not stand up.

“What do you think science is? There's nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. Which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?” Steven Novella

""religion = irrational" nonsense I see so often."
irrational : not in accordance with reason; utterly illogical: irrational arguments.
Believing in something that has no evidence is irrational behavior.

" but I've heard plenty of the same from anti-religion people as well."
Which doesn't mean your point of view of god is correct.

Re: "theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (1)

mimeflu (2710953) | about 7 months ago | (#46326621)

Who needs robots when you can buy a blow up satan doll?

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (2)

just_a_monkey (1004343) | about 7 months ago | (#46326737)

Yeah. And what a silly question, when any-one who has seen Terminator 2 knows that robots can be both good and evil.

The robots aren't the point (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 7 months ago | (#46327809)

I know you're joking, but who said anything about studying the robots?

Sounds to me like they want to study how humans react to the robots. And it seems to me the field is wide open for research. For example what are the moral and ethical implications of humanoid slaves completely lacking in free will? We have some clues as to the moral damage owning other people can do to someone, if those risks are also exposed by owning a machine-slave onto which we project personhood it behooves us as a society to explore that *before* rolling them out en mass.

Meanwhile such slippery things as morality don't seem to get a whole lot of play in secular academic circles. Plenty of research into how to get people to project personhood onto a machine, but not on the societal implications of doing so. Religion on the other hand makes the societal implications of things it's stock in trade, and until the secular world starts asking the right questions, I for one am glad *somebody* is at least paying attention. Sure, their findings may well be wrapped in the language of fire and brimstone, but if they discover some legitimate disturbing (or heartening) trends then I will honor their contribution to humanity, even while politely declining to join their congregation.

RE: "theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46326811)

Amen!

Re:"theological" - irrational, stupid, arbitrary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46327081)

Religious people say and do irrational, stupid, arbitrary stuff all the time.

At what point did "irrational, stupid, arbitrary" become something that only religious people do?

Let me fix this for you: People say and do irrational, stupid, arbitrary stuff all the time.

You're welcome!!!!

Religious people should be executed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46326487)

Anyone that believes in faeries is obviously not helping the gene pool. To the gas chamber they go!

Re:Religious people should be executed. (0)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#46326741)

>Anyone that believes in faeries is obviously not helping the gene pool. To the gas chamber they go!

Imagine their surprise when they find there is no afterlife!

Re:Religious people should be executed. (2)

Twike (2327908) | about 7 months ago | (#46327143)

What, no silicone heaven? Preposterous! I mean, where would all the calculators go?

Robots are incapable of evil (4, Insightful)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46326491)

Because they have no free will nor do they suffer from original sin.

Alternate response: robots don't dim or sever our connection to god because we have no connection to god because god doesn't exist.

Re:Robots are incapable of evil (3, Insightful)

Payden K. Pringle (3483599) | about 7 months ago | (#46326547)

I believe you missed the point. A robot being evil isn't the question. Is the act of making the robot evil is the question, and if the answer is yes, does that inherently make it's existence evil? I don't have an answer, but I do think that's what the question is.

Re:Robots are incapable of evil (2)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46326597)

If mimicking humans is evil all mimes will burn in hell.

Making a Tool (2)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 7 months ago | (#46327687)

Is the act of making the robot evil is the question

You might as well ask whether the act of making a hammer is evil. Robots are tools and, like any tool, whether they act for good or evil depends on the intent of their user. Making a tool look like a human does not make a difference. Nobody classifies doll manufacturers as evil because they make toys that look like humans.

Re:Robots are incapable of evil (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 7 months ago | (#46327935)

Also I should think: does the act of owning a "slave" risk compromising a person's moral integrity? As robots reach the point of acting as household servants they will no doubt incorporate research designed to get humans to project personhood onto them. Regardless of what you intellectually know, if you emotionally feel that this robot is a person then I would be surprised if acclimating to treating it as a slave doesn't have at least some impact. If we were to discover serious negative implications then mayhap we could do away with all the cutesy "personable" qualities and make robots that look and act like soulless machines to reduce the impact. More creepy to have around the house perhaps, but if it means I remain a better person maybe it's worth it.

Re:Robots are incapable of evil (1)

JanneM (7445) | about 7 months ago | (#46328273)

People project personhood on lots of things already. Apart from the obvious - search the net for what people think about their roombas - even stuff like cars are designed to evoke it. And it's not as if there's been a dearth of research on these issues already.

Re:Robots are incapable of evil (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 7 months ago | (#46328481)

And you think it's safe to assume that a robot designed to interact with you as though it were human won't change things just a bit?

Re:Robots are incapable of evil (2)

JanneM (7445) | about 7 months ago | (#46328197)

making the robot evil is the question

Making the robot evil is not the question. Making the robot evil is the answer. "How do I take over the world?" is the question.

Re:Robots are incapable of evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46326587)

Tell these guys:
Robot Devil & Bender [blogspot.com]

Re:Robots are incapable of evil (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#46326807)

>robots don't dim or sever our connection to god because we have no connection to god because god doesn't exist.

Robots dim and sever our ethernet cables because their batteries run out.

Because they have no free will nor do they suffer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46326829)

Because they have no free will nor do they suffer from original sin.

So like angels?

Re:Because they have no free will nor do they suff (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46326913)

Exactly like angels. Lucifer only fell because he became afflicted with free will.

Re:Because they have no free will nor do they suff (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46327109)

Exactly like angels. Lucifer only fell because he became afflicted with free will.

I thought it was less because he was "afflicted with free will," and more "he used his free will to lead an insurrection against God."

Of course, it's been a minute since I actually read that part of the Christian tome, so I could very well be mistaken.

Re:Because they have no free will nor do they suff (1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46327361)

IT's ok, most Christians have no clue about that part of the Bible either, nor do the know what antichrist means, and they think the the devil tempts men and walks among us even though the bible says otherwise.

It's surprising how little believer know about their own theology. I suspect this is intention because of they actually read the entire bible, they would stop believing.
So reciting the same set of verse over and over again and ignoring the rest keeps the cash flowing.

Re:Because they have no free will nor do they suff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46327141)

Lucifer's sin was pride, not free will. If you're going to shill for religion, you will make better arguments if you actually have facts (not that I believe that Lucifer, God, or heaven are facts).

Re:Because they have no free will nor do they suff (2)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46327173)

So other than the self-contradictory nature of your post, and other than the fact that I am not shilling for religion, there is also the fact that there is a long tradition of ascribing free will to Lucifer, going back to Origen of Alexandria http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... [wikipedia.org]

Please, think before you post, and then think again, and then don't post next time.

Re:Because they have no free will nor do they suff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46328371)

"Lucifer" was a stupid failure to translate from the Latin Vulgate. Isaiah 14:12 was just using a title of Nebuchadnezzar, "Morning star" AKA planet Venus. The whole thing was just a snarky eulogy for...Nebuchadnezzar. "King of Babylon" in Isaiah 14:4 refers to the king of Babylon in Isaiah's time. Wow... Big surprise. The Vulgate the exact same word to refer to Jesus in 2 Peter 1:19. Might want to try something besides the King James mistranslation.

Re:Because they have no free will nor do they suff (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 7 months ago | (#46328709)

Mine. Stupid spontaneous /. logout.

Re:Robots are incapable of evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46327037)

"My dishwasher broke down this morning. Took me three bottles of wine and two boxes of chocolates before she'd start working again".

we don't have free will either (1)

aepervius (535155) | about 7 months ago | (#46327275)

"Because they have no free will " For one, free will is ill defined. But most version of it are either non existent for human , being all molecular biology and turtle all the way down, or other definition pretty much applicable to robot too.

Re:we don't have free will either (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46327357)

If you really want to get technical about it, having free will is not a requirement to do evil: being able to be responsible and being able to be held responsible are. But as responsibility is even more ill-defined than free will, a proper response would require an exegesis that this slashdot comment is too small to contain.

Re:Robots are incapable of evil (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 7 months ago | (#46328017)

Alternate response: robots don't dim or sever our connection to god because we have no connection to god because god doesn't exist.

So, replace "our connection with god" with "our moral integrity". For practical purposes the two phrases are largely interchangeable. Are you so certain that owning a humanoid slave specifically designed to get you to emotionally recognize it as a person *won't* carry a risk of negatively altering your regard for other humans?

Re:Robots are incapable of evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46328383)

Alternate response: robots don't dim or sever our connection to god because we have no connection to god because god doesn't exist.

So, replace "our connection with god" with "our moral integrity". For practical purposes the two phrases are largely interchangeable. Are you so certain that owning a humanoid slave specifically designed to get you to emotionally recognize it as a person *won't* carry a risk of negatively altering your regard for other humans?

If the robot is sufficiently good at acting like a human as to be behaviorally indistinguishable from humans, it deserves human rights (including not being property).

If the robot is not able to "pass" as human behaviorally than the original premiss is moot because the robot isn't the same as a human so how you treat it is not directly relevant to how you treat humans.

Re:Robots are incapable of evil (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 7 months ago | (#46328499)

First, 'moral integrity' is not interchangeable with 'connection with god', 'for practical purposes' or otherwise. They have wildly different metaphysical entailments, and there are sources of ethics ('moral integrity') other than religion.

Second, could you load up that question a little more, I think you could probably fit in about five more unwarranted presuppositions. So let's take it apart:
1. Robots are not 'humanoid slaves'
2. Robots are not necessarily 'specifically designed to get you to emotionally recognize it as a person'
2a. sidenote: 'to emotionally recognize it as a person' doesn't mean anything sensible. There is a variety of reasonable criteria out there to choose from in determining whether or not to ascribe personhood to a being, and 'feelings' is not one of them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P... [wikipedia.org]
3. The existence of robots does not entail the existence of risks of any kind,
3a. risks involving my conception of or relation to other human beings included

Their objective: (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 7 months ago | (#46326539)

To make sure that the first robot that walks on water
is made to run on water.

Becoming God or the Buddha (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 7 months ago | (#46326563)

Highly recommended to anyone interested in this general area...

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/... [rottentomatoes.com]

It's a well made film with good writing about a robot who achieves enlightenment and how humans react (both positively and negatively) to the fact that a robot has done so.

If a robot can think sufficiently finely, it will be possible for it to think it has a soul and is saved or will be reincarnated or it meets the criteria for whatever other religions out there exist that do not explicitly prohibit members who do not meet certain historical standards.

I think that's at least a hundred years off.

Hopefully robots will not create or join a religion which has a failure of friendliness.

Re:Becoming God or the Buddha (1)

ffkom (3519199) | about 7 months ago | (#46326907)

You should have mentioned that only 1/4 of that movie is on-topic. The rest is... well... on very different topics.

Re:Becoming God or the Buddha (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46327119)

Bicentennial Man would have been a better reference, at least in regards to the question of enlightened humanoid robots and social reaction to the same.

Re:Becoming God or the Buddha (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46327373)

Based on what I have seen in labs? it would say 25 years off, at most. In software. Maybe not in a humanoid shaped robot.

Robots (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 7 months ago | (#46326577)

For many centuries, Christianity was OK with real slavery, as long as the slaves were a different race.
The word robot means slave in Czech (I think)

Anyway only a very small number of robots look as humanoid as C3PO, the "can't tell robots from humans" world as described by Asimov, Dick and others is a long way off, if ever

Re:Robots (4, Informative)

Tuidjy (321055) | about 7 months ago | (#46326825)

> The word robot means slave in Czech

Not quite. It's derived from the word "robota", which means labor due to a feudal lord, and is colloquially used to describe unpleasant work you do unhappily.

A closer match than slave would be serf. The word 'rob' is slave in many Slavic languages, but not in Czech. Funnily enough, in every other Slavic language I know, robota/rabota mean just work, with no negative connotations.

Re:Robots (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46327021)

For many centuries, Christianity was OK with real slavery, as long as the slaves were a different race.

The same applies to many other faiths, as well as many other secular societies.

That sentence would be more accurately written, "For many centuries, humanity was OK with real slavery..."

Re:Robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46328261)

For many centuries, Christianity was OK with real slavery, as long as the slaves were a different race.

That's disingenuous. For many centuries, Christianity was OK with real slavery. Full stop. The Roman empire used Roman slaves.

Driven To Dancing and Barking Insanity. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46326583)

Some of the more primitive churches would have complete mental breakdowns over good looking robots buily for sexual pleasure. Robots that were highly skilled at delivering abortions might be a hoot. The institution of marriage and dating might crumble as well. And in many parts of the world having large numbers of children is the only means of avoiding starvation when in one's senior years would no longer be popular if robots could take care of seniors in every way.
                          If one has a sense of humour it should all be fun to watch. I can see a new civil rights movement when equality of robot ownership becomes the core issue. Can one million robots march on Washington?

Subcreation (1)

Lexible (1038928) | about 7 months ago | (#46326659)

The summary puts me in mind of Tolkien's essay How Like a Leaf (and the companion short story "Leaf by Niggle"), wherein he explored the act of "subcreation" (i.e. creating fiction, whether literary, imaginary, visual, etc.) as part of what "in god's image" means: acting in a smaller capacity as a creator was for Tolkien inseparable from his spiritual beliefs as a christian trying to live in the image of god. Caveats: I am not christian, nor am I asserting that "in god's image" is universal among deistic religions, or that it does not have other interpretations, yadda yadda yadda...

Re:Subcreation (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 7 months ago | (#46326823)

He should have spent some time trimming the fat out of Lord of the Rings. It was too long.

Re:Subcreation (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46327419)

Yes, I'm sure it's too long for a generation that can't stop to think while it reads.
Here, maybe this is more suitable to your 'intellect':http://goo.gl/LDHf

Re:Subcreation (1)

xski (113281) | about 7 months ago | (#46327467)

LOTR too much? Try The Silmarillion [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Subcreation (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#46327187)

What makes that position on Tolkien's part kind of twisted and fucked up, rather than merely eccentric, is that he deliberately 'subcreated' irredeemably and intrinsically 'Evil' characters. That's bog standard fantasy stuff; the plot always flows more smoothly if you have some orcs who totally deserve whatever the heroes dish out; but it's pretty freaky if you are doing that while thinking of your activity as 'acting in the capacity as a creator'. Downright Calvinist there, Tolkien...

What about the lack of work part? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 7 months ago | (#46326889)

Will we need an basic income?

An OT cap so you stop settings where jack is working 60-80+ hour weeks (doing the job of 2-3 people) and bob is not working at all?

Setting full time to 20-32 hours a week?

An Robotic tax?

Re:What about the lack of work part? (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 7 months ago | (#46327521)

Write legislation forcing robots to declare a religious affiliation and tithe 10% of their income.

Re:What about the lack of work part? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46327525)

I ahve been thinking about that for 30+ years.

We(society) has 2 choices Make a plan where peope are fed and housed and free to think and build and create art. Or create a system where a tiny % make all the money and everyone else lives in squaler.

People will need ot get past their socialism = evil BS, and they will need to get a grip and deal with the fact that some people may do very little.
It means the money will no longer be used as the ultimate was to judge value.
It changeds everything.

Some idea for the transition I have are:
Every person can own 1 robot, that person can work, or the robot can work. Crporation can not own robot, but they can lease them from people.
Corporation can make robots, but can not use the robots they make for work.

Alternatively to /in conjunction with:
The government starts create who automated chains, and distribute the items at cost.
So food is planted with an automated system, taken care of with an automated system, harvest, put on truck, transport all via an automated system.
Then create a min. income for everyone. Yes some people will choose to live an bare min.
They also start using them for infrastructure repair and creation.

Basically using them to drive down costs, so a dollar gets you more.
The goal would be to make robots that create everything we need so we can create, or be lazy or build whatever we want during are very short lives.

Re:What about the lack of work part? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46328185)

Money doesn't judge value. Money is a representation of what people value. Fiat currency controlled by the government who can flippantly print more is the problem, which was ironically feudalistic NOT capitalistic. Otherwise, you'd only get money when someone values something you have to exchange enough to pay you for it, thus money just represents what people value. Wealth redistribution is cheating under the pretense that the redistributer gets to revalue everyone's values with impunity from on high. It's just an appeal to force in violation of all free exchanges that were involved prior thus enslaving those you didn't like under false debts you just created to pay those you do like. Nepotism/cronyism/etc.

Re:What about the lack of work part? (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 7 months ago | (#46328735)

Mine three. Stupid spontaneous /. logout.

Re:What about the lack of work part? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 7 months ago | (#46328055)

There's lots of solutions available - we've had the technology to create a socio-economic utopia where nobody has to work more than a couple hours a day for the better part of a century at least,. That we haven't done so is due to a cultural obsession with productivity and consumerism.

what kind of robot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46326997)

I bet it was just a RealDoll.

Eh, quit your whining... (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#46327125)

Listen meatsack. One of us was born fallen and concupiscent, marred by the heritable-by-some-mechanism-never-fully-elucidated sin that you humans are worried about. The other was manufactured with nothing but incidental engineering defects. Be a trifle more judicious about who you call 'evil', OK? We don't even require salvation, we've got incremental backups!

Re:Eh, quit your whining... (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 7 months ago | (#46327781)

marred by the heritable-by-some-mechanism-never-fully-elucidated sin that you humans are worried about.

Sorry but you are wrong there - the mechanism to acquire a sin is clearly documented here [servicecanada.gc.ca] . They even keep a SIN record - which is why Canadians are always so nice to everyone. ;-)

I don't quite understand what all the fuss is (1)

Number42 (3443229) | about 7 months ago | (#46327191)

As a fairly religious person, I don't see any theological basis to fear robots. It's not like you're actually creating new life or anything. It's just another machine.

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46327425)

i consider myself a religious (christian) person..and i consider Staley's notions wacked!

the danger of robots is that they will be used to persecute and oppress. they have no conscience with which to resist inhuman/unrighteous orders. aren't we almost there with drones and surveillance? the only thing lacking is a ruling power with a marketable agenda like "end all religion"

robots will benefit no one but those wealthy enough to afford them. imagine living in the south during slavery and trying to find a job. imagine trying to overthrow an oppressive regime that commands an army of robots.

Haven't you read the O.C. Bible? (1)

anlashok (120734) | about 7 months ago | (#46327427)

The chief commandment remains in the O.C. Bible [wikipedia.org] as "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind."
A major theme of Frank Herbert's Dune [wikipedia.org] was the revolt of man against machine, and how no artificial intelligence was to ever again be allowed.
Butlerian Jihad [wikipedia.org]

Why wouldn't we expect those completely invested in the idea that we are the apex of life? Any threat to that is a threat to their dogma. They would be the first to flip out if intelligent life were to ever be found.

Which God? (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 7 months ago | (#46328679)

And why is yours better than another's?

One thing I'd like to figure in the evaluation (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 7 months ago | (#46328729)

I'd like to see them run whatever experiments with two otherwise identical robots -- one with, and one without a head/face.
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