Would you like your great-grandchild to be a robot?

From Edward O. Wilson’s Consilience: “Thanks to advances  of genetics and molecular biology underway, hereditary change will soon depend less on natural selection than on social choice….The prospect of this ‘volitional evoltion’ –a species deciding what to do about its own heredity–will present the most profound intellectual and ethical choices humanity has ever faced….humanity will be positioned god-like to take control of its own ultimate fate. It can, if it chooses,  alter not just the anatomy and intelligence of the species, but also the emotions and creative drive that compose the very core of human nature.(p. 299-300)

Other than the repair of disabling defects, they will resist hereditary change.  They will do so in order to save the emotions and epigenetic rules of mental development. , because these elements compose the physical soul of the species. The reasoning is as follows: Alter the emotions and and epigenetic rules enough , and some people might seem “better,” but they would no longer be human. Neutralize the elements of human nature in favor of  pure rationality, and the result wold be badly constructed, protein-based computers. Why should a species give up the defining core of its existence, built by millions of years of biological  trial and error? (p 303)

Wikipedia tells us that “Throughout history, it has been frequently assumed that robots will one day be able to mimic human behavior and manage tasks in a human-like fashion. Todayrobotics is a rapidly growing field, as technological advances continue; researching, designing, and building new robots serve various practical purposes, whether …

The ambition of modern robotics goes beyond copying humans, beyond the effort to make walking,talking androids that are indistinguishable from people. Future robots will have superhumanabilities in both the physical and digital realms.  From pr for new book.

Thre’s discussion about making a robot that can be your friend…It’s been pointed out that sex robotics would free up a lot of time taken for dating, but spare time won’t be a problem, due to jobs being replaced by robots.  Do any followers of this blog have thoughts about robots?

About Nan Mykel

At 79, I was just about to stop keeping a journal, but that felt like accepting that growth was finished. I don't want to be finished, yet! I'm 80 now, and struggling to communicate with you, if you'll come and set awhile. P.S. My how time flies! I'm 82 now.
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2 Responses to Would you like your great-grandchild to be a robot?

  1. Frank Hubeny says:

    Explanations we come up with are not complete explanations and sometimes our explanations get in the way of better ones. I don’t think computers are a good explanation for who we we. They have no ability to make choices and they reason better than rationalize. We have a limited ability to choose which makes us motivated reasoners or rationalizers. That’s why we have goals and sometimes even get things done. Robots are best seen as tools to help us not as something we will ever become. There is more potential for change in looking at the genetic explanation of who we are, but genes are more what keep us human rather than how we could evolve into something not human. From a Darwinian perspective I think “punctuated equilibrium” rather than “phyletic gradualism” best explains how species behave but even that explanation is partial. So I’m not really worried about biological engineering either. The best cure for some of the diseases we have (Alzheimers, auto-immune diseases, diabetes) is diet and lifestyle changes and avoiding environmental toxins rather than genetic engineering. Just my current perspective on complicated and controversial topics.

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    • Nan Mykel says:

      I’m primarily concerned about the loss of the ability to love and empathize. And look at all the aggression, kin preference and survival of the fittest flowing through our veins that we already try to overcome! It is anticipated that robots will be smarter than us. Why would they want to keep us around? Additional thoughts welcome. Thanks for sharing and say more about better explanations.

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