Archive for the Weekly Assignments Category

Thoughts on Love Machines

Posted in Weekly Assignments on May 4, 2008 by crodan2

I found Love Machines to be an entertaining, as well as thought provoking piece on the subject of future human sexuality. I thought some of the most interesting comments were based on the perceptions of current human sexuality, such as the “outsourcing of sex” (namely the fact that there are fewer people than ever having sex who are being watched by a much larger number – something you might not normally think of, but is interesting to contemplate). I also thought that Daniel Dennet’s statement that “a robot is in a better position to report its own mental states than researchers with mounds of data” was profound, even if it was not the first time this claim has been made. Nevertheless it was the first time I heard it, and professor Asaro’s response to my challenge about it after the film has got me re-thinking about robots and the problem of other minds – I must say I agree with Dennet now, but do so reluctantly because I think that a robot reporting about its own mental state is not evidence enough of actual thinking (ex. Smarter Child, ALICE).

One other philosophical statement I found interesting was made by Moravec later in the film – essentially that there is no difference between geniuenly loving robots and robots programmed to love because robots will be geniuenly programmed! He goes on by saying that after all, humans are programmed to love! (and that the evolutionary logic might be different but the kind that were used to [love] is manufactured to meet a survivial need, which may be similar for robots). I have no response to this statement because I have not yet finished processing the thought!

Oh yeah, the latino character with the fancy glove added a nice bit of comic relief, as well as the inventor who mounted his own sex machine for demonstration (which was not only hilarious, but gave the audience a hint of how sad it would be for a human to engage with a machine to fufill its sexual needs, as opposed to an organic option such as finding a mate).


Gotta Love My Bots

Posted in Weekly Assignments on May 1, 2008 by wazdingo

“Love Machine,” started off slow, but quickly ran further and further down the moral implications, and technologically possibilities of the future of robotics. I don’t know about a few of the interviews and how they really should weigh into how we should progress technology. Namely, I do not believe religion should have any right to dictate what we should and shouldn’t do with technology. Just as religion is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE involved in government, it should not be involved in science. Morality is not reliant on religion, rather religion is reliant on Morality and is a parallel not a perpendicular to science and technology. As a matter of fact it is in many senses the opposite of technology. Another interview I was a bit baffled by was the artist. I understand he does erotic work and such, but his grasp of the subject at times seemed much to little to answer to the same degree as others. A few things I noticed among many interviews were two polar opposites to the questions, either intrigue and optimism, or fear and pessimism. The people I found most insiteful were the professors from various colleges. They had the most objective answers to the questions and were not as biased as many of the other interviews. As per what I believe will happen with robots and love, I do not think robots will ever be able to truly love. It is something that no amount of alternating ones and zeros can capture the true nature of. I believe love like creativity is more than just a mix of chemicals, and is a higher function of the brain that isn’t possible to break down into parts. Lust I believe robots will be able to feel, and perhaps friendship, but never the higher level mix of them. For this reason robots, where they may deserve rights when it comes to consciousness of their surroundings and themselves, shouldn’t be considered something that can get married or be any more than a tool for happiness. Yeah, people will inevitably fall in love with robots, but this isn’t even real romantic love. It would be as we love our dogs, where we share an emotional link to them and them to us, but it doesn’t have the same depth and complexity. This depth and complexity is what keeps love from being replicated. Society really does not have much to worry about when it comes to robots and love. To site a Futurama episode, I do not think we will ever have the occurrence where the human population is dwindling because people are making the active decision to steer away from people to only be intimate with robots. Similarly they will never return more than a preprogrammed link to us. The only people in the future who are going to be marrying robots are the same people who are trying to marry their dogs and homes today. It takes more than a chemical connection for love to occur. Right?

Love Machines

Posted in Weekly Assignments on May 1, 2008 by mpcarino

I’ve never really noticed another person or thing’s love affect how I live my life, but the notion seems to exist that a machine falling in love with anything will somehow undermine how we as human beings experience love. Personally, this seems ridiculous to me and stems from human beings overrating the feelings of love. Don’t get me wrong, love is a very powerful and amazing feeling and governs a lot of decisions that we make, but the idea that love is something to remain unique and special to human beings is just preposterous.

The movie “Love Machine” never fully addresses the idea of whether a robot can experience love in the way humans do. Instead it seems to focus on the idea of using robots more as sexbots, in order to¬† bring masturbation to a higher level. This doesn’t seem all that destructive to society, for as long as the robot has no way to reciprocate the love you place on it there will always be a desire to seek out other humans. We must therefore ask ourselves whether it is even possible to have a robot that can physically “feel” love the way we do. It doesn’t seem to be that big of a problem to give a robot the capability to simulate love through physical and verbal actions. Right now we could program a robot that will always remain loyal and devoted to an individual, willing to sacrifice anything and everything for someone. If we talked of another human in this way we would no doubt come to the conclusion that they were in love, but with a robot we reach a hang-up. The problem seems to stem from personal choice.

Our fascination with love, the thrill and mystery that makes it so amazing, lies in the knowledge that this person is willingly giving themselves up. That they are making themselves vulnerable to you. If we have a suspicion that an object is reacting out of obligation rather than of choice, than we lose some of that magic. Still the prospect remains sound that maybe one day a robot could truly feel love, when it becomes autonomous and is able to learn and adapt to it’s surroundings and experiences.

love robots

Posted in Uncategorized, Weekly Assignments on May 1, 2008 by stevegal

I think that this was a very good video. I enjoyed the music and the message it gave. There were many persona displayed as well. Some were really funny (i.e. the man with the claw). Nevertheless I give it a 5/5. The discussion after was very interesting especially when the guy said how they did try to capture the people’s different persona—kinda funny how it also corrolated with their different view.

Nevertheless, as to do with robot’s capability to love. I think they will be able to love in the sense of being attracted to another BEING. But this love will not have meaning behind it—as the humans do. This will cause a problem because when artifical things start being attracted to a certain species, then reproduction will diminish—however that won’t be a problem once human cloning becomes legal ūüėČ

Koi wa Mystery….

Posted in Weekly Assignments on May 1, 2008 by skazafraz

I think the best part of Love Machine was how it broached many different perspectives and views on Robotic love. It wasn’t just a philosophy documentary or a psychological one, but it contained perspectives from the highly educated PH.D to the regular church man. It was pretty comprehensive in scope so that made the whole thing more interesting. Alot of the stuff the documentary talked about dealt with modern technology so it would have been nice if it also included some stuff about robotic/mechanical love from older time periods. Although I don’t think people in the past have the opportunity to fall in love with machines as today’s robots are more lifelike than ever before, but perhaps there could have been some analogies in prior centuries. Hey you never know, Neanderthals could have totally fallen in love with fire and their stone spears. Who knows?

In my opinion the most compelling part of the film was when they discussed the problem of other minds in robots. We don’t have a test to make sure robots are conscious beings. We have to just take their word for it. I’m not sure if we’ll ever know whether or not the machines we create have a mind of their own.

As for robots falling in love or humans falling in love with robots I think humans can fall in love with robots. As Dennett said, we fall in love with stupid things. There are people who would marry their cat if given the opportunity. If robots keep the trend of becoming more and more human-like then no doubt some of us will fall for them. In regards to the concept of robots falling in love with us, we don’t know. This problem relates to the other minds problem. If we don’t know when robots are conscious then we don’t have any explanation as to whether or not they love us. Like a couple in a warped relationship we’ll just have to take their word for it.

Love, Sex and Robots

Posted in Weekly Assignments on May 1, 2008 by James

I really enjoyed the viewing of “Love Machine” the other day.¬† I found the interviews with the women from the Defense for Children and all of the Sex shop people to be the most interesting.¬† It was nice to get the views of the people that have more a “man on the street” perspective of robots and the potential for love between robots and humans.¬† The women from the Defense for Children league just seemed to have a very bad perception of robot human interactions that really went beyond any real tangible reasons other than “it is wrong.”¬† It was also interesting that sex toy and sex shop owners really believed that we are trending towards sex objects that are as real as possible.¬† They really believe that there would be a market for realistic robots that can have sex with people.

I also wanted to address the criticism that the movie was more about sex or masturbation than it was about love.  I feel like this issue was addressed well enough by the movie.  Clearly, it seems that any chance for a robot that could feel love or at least be loved by humans would be a robot that is fully capable of all human interactions.  It may begin with a robot that can have sex that simulates sex with another human, but from there, someone may decide to give this robot autonomy and a personality if possible.  So, if one could not tell the difference from a robot or a human one day and then later found out after a long relationship that their partner was a robot, would they immediately give up all feelings for that robot that they believed to be human?  I personally think this would not happen.

This leads me to the question of whether robots will ever genuinely ever be able to be in love.¬† If autonomous robots are ever developed with a sense of morality, emotion¬†and personality, then I do believe it possible that at the very least a robot could feel as though it is “in love.”¬† If this type of robot is able to be developed, than I do believe that this type of robot love would be no different than human love.¬† It could potentialy be a bad thing for robots to have such autonomy and emotions.¬† In some ways it is our emotions that lead us to irrational or harsh thinking.¬† Robots would likely be stronger and better than us in many ways, so adding emotions and feelings like love into the mix could make robots only grow to dislike humans.¬† So much autonomy could turn on us in a bad way.

Love Machine

Posted in Weekly Assignments on May 1, 2008 by jdimatteo

I enjoyed watching Love Machine.  The interviews felt like a good flow and the music made it more enjoyable to watch, as well as sometimes being funny.

I partly agree with the criticism that the film was more about sex or masturbation than love. ¬†But even if this is the case, I think there is a lot of ethics and philosophy involved with pleasure and technology. ¬†I think the term “love” is so comprehensive that it is inherently difficult for a machine to encompass the full breadth of love, especially because machines are notorious for filling only narrow niches.

For me, the interaction of the builders with their machines was most significant. ¬†One researcher interviewed claimed that building robots fulfilled a natural biological desire typically related to children. ¬†In particular, the MIT researcher working on Kismet,¬†Cynthia Breazeal, seemed to have a real connection to a machine. ¬†I was surprised how she was constantly distracted by the machine during the interview: it almost felt as if it was an act to¬†exaggerate¬†the¬†sociability¬†of Kismet. ¬†But assuming that Cynthia’s connection to Kismet was genuine, I think this relates to love in a very different way than a sex machine.

I think that when a builder feels heartache for leaving a machine, then this will be a sign of machines entering the realm of love.  Consider this excerpt from an interview with Cynthia:

¬†I miss Kismet — I do! What people might not understand is that when I talk about robots, it’s not just a physical robot in the lab, it’s the vision of what I see them becoming.

It’s almost embarrassing for me to talk about Kismet, because people think it’s so odd that I could have this attachment to this robot. At scientific conferences, I find it hard to quantify what you have when you interact with Kismet and what is so special about it. But the essence of that is what I am now trying to distill into Leonardo. Kismet has been retired to the M.I.T. Museum. I would rather have him stay up at the Media Lab, with me. But he’s done his job. Kismet isn’t gone; it’s just now taking the next step in its own evolution through Leonardo. NY Times interview

For me, Cynthia’s emotional connection to Kismet is an important signal in robots really becoming love machines.

Ultimately, I think the film Love Machine is important because it promotes the reality that is creeping up of robots taking emotional roles in our lives.  The film is an excellent context to explore questions such as, is Cynthia in love with a robot?