Oct. 13th, 2007

piranha: red origami crane (Default)
sparked by discussion in [livejournal.com profile] wcg's journal:

"My forecast is that around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots," artificial intelligence researcher David Levy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands told LiveScience.

(i wrote all of the following before actually reading the article.)

side note: he said that about MA being the first while in the netherlands, which beat MA by several years regarding gay marriage. :) a bit US-centric, mr levy? the presence of MIT is gonna move society? *heh*.

i think that timeline is unlikely, because we don't have any AI yet that's even remotely close, 40+ years isn't much time when it comes to changing strong social mores, and this would be a huge change -- acknowledging another life form as equal to humans. gays _are_ humans and STILL can't marry in almost all of the US. and we can't touch polyamorous marriage between humans at all at this point; it is actively illegal, and is used as the bogeyman by anti-gay-marriage agitators. anyway, AI as a field is lagging notoriously behind its predictions.

somebody asked this interesting question [edited]: while it could be possible to program it to specifically like the characteristics of its partner, could it be said that the A.I is then freely giving its consent?

i wonder a lot about free will in general, and at this point think we don't have any such thing, not in the absolute sense the term implies. we are programmed to a great degree by our DNA and our early environmental exposure. now, our DNA is complex enough, and environmental influences are plentiful, so what comes out looks amazingly complicated and able to enact "free will". and yet it has sometimes preferences that i think no sane person would actually choose if they were completely free to choose (pedophilia comes to mind, and some of the really odd paraphilias). really, would you have chosen to be gay 50 years ago? some people fight these orientations / preferences, and fight them with all they have, and yet can't conquer them. i've tried to be "bi" and "not transsexual" much of my life, and it's just not happening.

that's why i think we only have free will within certain parameters that are "programmed" into us. and a robot similarly programmed could still have the ability to give consent, just as we do. just like some women have a preference for "bad boys" that washes away all reason, some robots could have a preferences for other "unpleasant personalities". the only difference would be that for the robots the programming would be guided by humans instead of nature.

but i don't actually think we'll see that, not in the next 50 years. what we'll see instead is robots programmed with "compulsions" rather than anything approaching free will -- and while that will make people with "unpleasant personalities" happy, it won't lead to freely consenting and marriage-capable robots; it'll lead primarily to well-adapted sex toys. and hey, that's fine by me. if pedophiles can have their own little lolita-bots, hopefully they'll leave real children alone.


instead of amazingly capable robots i am wondering about virtual presence -- how long will it be before we can have virtual experiences that are indistinguishable from real ones? i suspect that the first actual AI might come from that direction. and then it won't have a body. :) will we be able to marry virtual people? would we want to, in real life (as opposed to in the virtual world)? why? will virtual worlds and real world become in some way integrated (can money made in one transfer to the other, for example)? how many of us would basically spend all our time in virtual space?

i am suddenly getting the urge to {re-}read a lot of SF robot stories.

dude!

Oct. 13th, 2007 12:53
piranha: red origami crane (Default)


via [livejournal.com profile] anavoog who got it from somebody else who found it on the net somewhere.


awesome. he designs his own clothes and crochets even on the subway. i wanna hang out!

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