week 3/robots…?/alice nakata

Creating a robot with feelings. This has been the ultimate goal of many robot-builders. There are many human androids being built that can show a wide variety of very human-like feelings, but they are all input data. No robot has been created that have feelings of its own. I’ve always thought how that would become possible. Humans are able to have feelings because we have a brain, neurons, senses, DNA, blood flowing through our veins, a heart… A robot is manmade. It is possible to give them sensors so they can “feel” things. But the way they process those “feelings” are not through a complex organ called a “brain,” but rather data input by us. The way they are supposed to think are preset by us. They cannot choose what they like. Even their preferences are chosen by us.

I found an interesting video on YouTube. It is about a robot with the feeling of “want.” Of course, it is a digital clip. But if a robot can see something and reach for it like the one in this clip, then I will be able to say that we have created a robot with feelings.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zl6hNj1uOkY

My perspective on this video is as follows. This robot, on her own will, wants to mimic the girl on the TV screen. She pays no attention to the TV at first, but when she saw the doll face, she finds it interesting. She found it to be attractive. She “wants” to look exactly like her. Starting with her dull, gray face, she begins to apply make-up on her face. When she is done, she is satisfied. As the TV screen is moving away, the face on the screen gradually changes. She still mimics it by reaching out further to the screen, until she can no longer reach. She breaks herself to be able to see the screen.

The reason why this video is different from other robot clips I’ve seen is because I have never felt sympathy when watching them. Usually I am surprised, I admire, and I look forward to the technology that can advance in the near future. But after seeing this video, I felt nothing but sadness. The robot ended her “life” because of the want to become more human-like.

Should we keep trying to build robots with feelings? What is the purpose?

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