Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Would you marry an algorithm?

I was well impressed by the studio's symposium presentation. The mappings brought new insights and the exhibition showed real panache. And it has made me think again about the story. I have some quibbles with the timeline and some of the ideas, but these very questions show up possible sources of conflict and tension.

For example, the robot marriage law. I can't see this happening in this context, because it implies that robot personhood is already recognised. You can't have marriage rights unless you have rights in general. And robot personhood, in turn, would immediately imply that some robots and other AI systems are slaves.

But I can see why some people would already (2086) be arguing for just that recognition, however disruptive it would be. The anticipatory algorithms of the AI breakthrough envisaged in Steve's earlier post  would give a very strong impression of empathy. Combine this with the already (in 2016) well-known tendency of human beings to anthropomorphise, and the surprising capacity of human beings to form emotional attachments to robots (and not just humanoid robots but, in the best-known case., bomb-disposal robots), and you have a ready-mixed explosive cocktail.

This would be countered by strong philosophical arguments, as well as by some strong language (don't click if you find sweary stuff offensive!) I can't see robot marriage being legal, but I can see some 'faith' or 'philosophy' groups celebrating it nonetheless. Perhaps the tranhumanists would conduct a ceremony, and humanists find themselves on the same side as religious conservatives in denouncing it as a sham.

Lots more to think about!

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