2.03.2005

Today's Slashdot Post

What follows is my post today on todays Slashdot Story Robots that Lust and Reproduce
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For them to enjoy something they'd have to experience it and therefore have a consciousness.

This professor is very mistaken when he says they will experience lust. Unless you define "lust" as "programmed tendency to move towards another robot and interface to it" or something.

The most that this can do is to program sets of behavior probabilities. It won't by any means cause robots to suddenly become conscious beings.


But is enjoyment the point? We are conscious beings I assume. So are bonobos, chimps, rats, cats, dogs and whales. They all have orgasm.

Why?

Because sexual reproduction is essential to the survival and advancement of complex organisms. In order to beat the odds you need to combine DNA from two parents - you don't want your DNA to get stale do you? Now since orgasm doesn't exist in every animal species we must assume that sex obviously came first, and when doesn't it? Orgasm is a way to reward those conscious beings, it gives them something for the experience. Orgasm even relieves hierarchical tension in chimp troops - in fact almost every human gesture and disguise from a smile to lipstick tickles the sex parts of our brain.

Sex and aggression are almost the same (really for more on this topic read this book please). The world as we know it, our social fabric is formed out of those two threads - threads of almost the same color. Our brains, chimp brains, even bird brains are programmed to like sex, crave it and even get jealous about it.

Sex is important and lust is pre-programmed. It's not something we learn, but it's something we have a predisposition to. All we have to do, which is something our DNA couldn't, is see the need first for the programming. No doubt the first humans to be alearted to anothers sexual desires by a flush face with blood filled lips, or even more subtle clues such as glances from the opposite sex - these homonids must have really scored!!! Those are the ones you thank today. Someone had to have the first orgasm, even if it was an ancestor not yet discovered.

My point is that the machines will never be aware. They can only be "aware" of the things we tell them unless we equip them with a means of learning. But as you claim we can only give them "behaviour probabilities". Well, sex is the first step. Give them the desire, program that desire, to combine and form new machines and you have given them everything they need.

Who says they won't take over? No one has ever really tried it.

The problem might not be that they are conscious - see conscious could choose. Not to get all matrixy on you but a capable being which can reproduce has no limits. We are programming with consciousness on top - imagine your brain without the conscious. You could do unspeakable evils.

You wouldn't even question it or know it.

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