Do androids dream of Electric Sheep? or What would you do if you found out your boss was a robot?

Gartner prediction_4

Gartner Prediction No. 4

Dog Android_Boss robot

Android dog and Roboboss

I think we have all seen and read enough science fiction movies and novels about the dangers of robots and androids to have mixed feelings about the “rise of the robots”.

Think:

  • Alien
  • 2001 A Space Odyssey
  • Bladerunner (and the P.K. Dick novel it was based on “Do androids dream of Electric Sheep”)
  • The Terminator franchise
  • The recent ABC series “Humans”
  • The 2015 movie “Ex-Machina”

Science fiction loves to explore/exploit the issues surrounding android / human relationships; how humans are weak because our emotions allow us to get attached to androids, (It’s probably not a great idea that movies and novels make androids look so much like us that we forget they are not human); and the fear that androids can’t reciprocate our attachment, because they are… well… robots, and robots can’t feel human emotions is exploited for all it is worth.  So the androids kill us all, or enslave us, or just leave us to perish because ultimately, we are inferior to them in every way.

Before we let loose androids on humanity, we need to make sure Asimov’s Laws of Robotics are rock solid:

0. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws. “Three Laws of Robotics”, 2016

And the thing is, having a roboboss seems to break the second law.  I thought robots were here to serve us?

Think:

  • Robovac.

Three Laws of Robotics. 2016. In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 6, 2016,  from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics

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5 comments

  1. Karina Rivett · March 6, 2016

    I love that you brought up the Laws of Robotics! My problem with them though is, the actual book of I, Robot (which is just a littttttle bit different to the movie) is pretty much a bunch of stories showing how the laws themselves can cause issues! When robots DO become a more common thing, we’re really going to have to think hard about how to program them.

    Like

    • Michele Smith · March 13, 2016

      Absolutely, Karina. Do you think we are smart enough to not let the robots take over the world?

      Like

  2. kathleen · March 7, 2016

    Great reference to the laws of robotics, and I wonder as well whether roboboss means that we have a divide, between those who tell the robots what to do, and those who are told what to do by the robots.

    Like

  3. Nick G · March 12, 2016

    Best blog post title of the course so far.

    Like

    • Michele Smith · March 13, 2016

      Haha! Thanks Nick.

      Like

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