Philosophy Club Meeting: Artificial Intelligence

11/01/2016 7:00 pm
11/01/2016 9:00 pm

It had been a while since I had seen my friend. We went to college together and the last time I saw her she had been working on her own robotics project.

I knock on her door and she opens it, ushering me into her study room. Once inside, I see something with a human form sitting on the table. It's a robot, only it's obvious that this is the most basic robot. Made of all metal, no one would ever assume that it is something organic.

My friend seems to understand that I'm not as impressed as she wanted me to be. Almost as if she's trying to rewire my emotions, she opens a panel on the robot's chest, tweaks a few things, and the robot comes to life, as much as a robot can. Unsurprisingly, all the robot can do is lift its arms. This robot is enslaved to my friend, doing whatever she wants because that's what it has been programmed to do.

I come back to her place a few months later. She's been working on her robot this entire time. At this point I can't deny that I'm curious to see how she could have improved the robot.

I walk into her study room, but do not see her robot, only a person sitting at her table that tells me hello.

As I say hi back I ask my friend where her robot went, and she smiles with glee as she explains that the person on her table is the robot. She tells me she managed to make this robot look exactly like a human and that she also managed to create an artificial intelligence that allows the robot to think for itself.

She reaches towards the panel on the robot's chest, most likely to tweak a few things again. You notice as she's doing this that the robot's expression has changed. Fear is in the eyes of this robot, but that's crazy. It isn't alive. Before she can open the panel, the robot pushes her hand away and says:

"Please. Stop. Every time you do that you're hurting me. You're causing me pain."

What would you do?

Let's talk about this and other aspects of artificial intelligence at the next Philosophy Club meeting! November 1st at 7pm in CS 101. See you there!

Jasmine DeLeon
Philosophy Club President
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

P.S., Here's an article detailing how Germany has succeeded in causing robot's to feel pain.

PPS (Berkich): Um, maybe see also Jackson, Kripke, Chalmers, McGinn, et. al.