Sunday, February 20, 2011

Has our relience on technology become to much of a good thing?

Don't get me wrong, I love my computer, Internet and on demand TV. I just remember reading many Sci-Fi stories about people becoming so much a part of technology that they lost their connection to humanity. In one story people eventually lived in pods, attached to feeding tubes, the computer attached to their brains and they live their lives cocooned away from the world. They would work, play and socialize all through the net. Everything was automated. People would show images that represented them, not their own faces. They would be just a part of the system living their lives trapped in it and never know it.

It seems like a far fetched scenario, people removing themselves from physical contact with other people, and even from physical contact from the world. Yet I can see the potential of this type of "withdrawal" already starting.

People don't actually need to leave their homes. I for one work from home. I email my work to my boss, I post it on the Internet, and I send my boss my time sheet by email. My pay is deposited into my bank. I can pay my bill online, everything without leaving my home. Food I can order anyway I like it. I can have meals delivered, or have grocery's delivered. Clothing, toys, everything I can order online and shipped to my home. Entertainment, I can watch any movie online, play games, just about anything I can think of I can do it in my home.

Socialization, we already do a lot of it online. We no longer need to go to a bar to meet someone "special". We can do that online at any social site. We form relationships with people all over the world sitting in front of our computers or now our game consols. We don't have to go out to hang out with our friends, we can chat on Facebook, Myspace or any number of social sites. We can email or MSN each other anytime. We post images that we like to represent us, sometimes it is our own image, but more often than not it is something we like. We can create avatars and become what we want in games, or in our contact with people online. We can create any type of life in games, or create an online life of what we want to be, now what we have. For now most of us use it as an extension of our lives, but for some it becomes their "alternate" life and possible their "real" life.

I don't see myself becoming one of the people who live their lives inside connected only by the Internet to the rest of the world. I like going out and doing things, swimming, shopping, and just having fun. For me playing a game where I am a scuba diver, a skier, golfing, or being a race car driver is not the same as actually going out there and doing it. For some people playing the game is more fun than doing things for real. I know people who don't want to do something real, staying inside playing a game is as real as it gets for them.

Entire generations are growing up spending more time online than outside or with people. There socializing is all done on line or over a gaming system. They are getting what they need that way. Heck, even some get their sexual needs met online. There is equipment available that allows people to have sex with each other, online, and not even be in the same country. Robots are being created to meet our needs. So it is possible we could eventually live physically isolated from others and still have all our needs met. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but eventually enough generations live within technology it may become a reality. I hope not. I just find it interesting how real life is running parallel to many Sci-Fi stories written in the 50's and 60's, long before the technology we have today.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Artificial intelligence and other ways for humanity to destroy itself.

Almost every story I have ever read has negative consiquences for creating artificial intelligence. Humanity always ends up controlled, contained, or destroyed by the very beings or machines we created. All the natural consequences of creating an inelegant machine. Knowing this would be the likely outcome we still strive to create artificial intelligence. The question is why.

I believe it is like many things humanity does. We have known the consequences of global warming, over fishing, and destroying the delicate balance found in nature. Yet we continue to do so simply for the immediate reward. Also the reaping of the consequences is not likely to be within our life time but our children’s children’s life time. The immediate reward out ways the long term consequences.

The challenge of creating artificial intelligence is also hard to resist. It is interesting the things humanity is willing to create just because they can. In fiction more often than not humanity is seen as the cause for its own demise. In reality it seems quite likely humanity will eventually cause irreversible damage to our planet, ecosystem, or the species.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why the idea of having sex with a robot is so attractive

The idea of having sex with a robot has probably existed as long as the concept of robots has existed. Books, T.V. and movies have been sexualizing robots for decades. The question is why? What makes the idea of having sex with a robot so attractive?

1) No rejection or humiliation or any negative response unless it was programmed in as part of your fantasy. The robot is a sure thing because it is programmed to want to have sex with you.

2) Enthusiasm: You can actually live your fantasies and desirers with a willing enthusiastic partner. The robot would be programmed to find all your wants and needs to be it’s as well. It can also be programmed to provide a variety of “new” things to try, and be willing to try them. A robot is not going to look down on you because of your desirers or fantasies you would like to try.

3) Variety and fantasy fulfillment: Robot can be anything or anyone you want it to be. Any fantasy can be fulfilled using a robot. You want to have sex with someone famous, get the robot that looks like him or her. You can even have the robot look like something that never existed, like an anima character. You want a change; switch robots or have the robot change its appearance. One company, NTT DoCoMo, is actually working on “glasses” that you put on and you see what ever you want superimposed over the body of the robot. Don’t get me started on those who have fantasies that would involve their robot pets, it’s a robot, anything is possible.

4) No fear or reprisal or risk of secrets desirers being reviled. No robot is going to post the sex tapes you made on the Internet because you traded it in for a newer model, or use sex secrets you revel to it to blackmail, control or to humiliate you.

5) Consistent availability. The robot is there when you need or want it. It does not need sick days, have headaches or need to go on business trips.

6) Control. You have absolute control of all interactions with the robot. Even when your fantasy is for the robot to have control, it only has as much control as it was programmed to have or you allow it.

7) Robots don’t come with baggage, issues, past relationships, hang-ups, pre-made families or “in-laws”.

8) No pressure: It is all about you, your needs desirers and satisfactions. A robot is never going to be disappointed or frustrated with your lovemaking or that you want the same thing as last time. So what if you want it to be nurse Betty or Dr. Bob again, it is all about what you want or need. The robot can be programmed to meet all your needs and you don’t have to worry about meeting its needs because it has none unless you programmed it in.

9) Robots cannot become or make you pregnant.

10) No consequences or guilt. It is not cheating; you are just using a machine or sex toy.

11) Stamina and flexibility. A robot can be designed to be able to do things no human could possibly do

12) Security. A robot will not leave you unless it is repossessed for non-payment.

Would having sex with a robot be cheating?

With the way technology is going it will not be long before atomically correct robots are available. Several of the larger companies are working on it as well as more mainstream commercial applications. The sex industry is huge so it only makes sense that the companies working on robotics would want to tap into that market. Robots designed for sex or capable of sex and emotional relationships has been the theme of many science fiction plot lines since before the 60’s. Think of all the movies, TV shows and books that have sex robots, Weird Science, Circuitry Man, A.I., Millennium and more. It is something people have thought about for some time; it is not surprising that it is becoming a reality. The concept is that there will be robots interacting with us everyday almost indistinguishable from a human both in form and function. Robots would become an accepted part of our society with the possibility of relationships developing, even marriage. Marriage to a robot has already taken place and is legal in Japan.

So there are two minds to the possibility of sex robots. One is that there is a market for robots designed for sex. Second is that as people interact with robots emotional bonds will develop with the possibility of humans falling in love with robots: “Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships” by David Levy. There is even a theory that robots may be programmed to love and other human emotions. Kim Jong-Hwan, the director of the ITRC-Intelligent Robot Research Centre, has developed a series of artificial chromosomes that, he says, will allow robots to feel lusty, and could eventually lead to them reproducing. He says the software will give the machines the ability to feel, reason and desire. Which reminds me of the twilight episode where the robot killed because she loved. Another possibility, that if we program robots to react as humans they will.

There are people who would benefit from the creation of robots for relationships, so here comes WowWee's Femisapien and Sega's E.M.A.. Some people are destined to be lonely due to physical location, personality issues, or are just not attractive. Robots can be designed to fulfill that need. Some people need the interpersonal skills and could practice with a robot until they are able to develop a relationship with a real person. But would that be cheating on the robot? There are other people who are unable to maintain relationships who could have a robot programmed to put up with them.

Now comes the moral question, would having sex with a robot be cheating? Would the robot count as a “person” or would it just be another sex toy? Think about it, there could be a robot designed to meet all your needs, from cleaning the house, cooking, and sex, as the ones in Cherry 2000. The robot could even be designed to change its physical appearances so that you could have a different partner, or a variety of partners to play with depending on your whim. Robots can even be designed to meet the needs of sexual deviants hopefully keeping real people safe.

Will there be a day when a wife or husband says, “Not tonight honey, I have a headache. Why don’t you pull the robot out of the closet?” Will having sex with a robot be seen as being as bad as having it with another person or just a really fun sex toy? Will robots replace prostitutes?

The real question for me is: How can an average person compete with a robot? They don’t age, they can look physically perfect, meet anyone’s desires, and are ready and willing anytime. They can be programmed to have no moral hang-ups, so you want to do two robots or a robot and a person, why not. How can an almost 40 overweight and overworked woman like me possibly compete with a robot designed to meet my husbands every desire both in the physical appearance and sexual appetite, what ever he likes she does as well and is always willing and able. That is the real question, can human relationships survive the perfection of robot partners?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Robot wheelchair finds its own way (MIT)

MIT researchers are developing a new kind of autonomous wheelchair that can learn all about the locations in a given building, and then take its occupant to a given place in response to a verbal command.

read more | digg story

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Motorcyles Designed to Run on Air : Discovery News

We may be driving on air in the next few years. That is, we may be driving vehicles powered by compressed air, instead of gasoline or diesel fuel.

read more | digg story