The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Robots Are Coming


Robots are coming to a theater near you. Well, not near you... yet. But in Japan, robots are acting on stage in a 20 minute play "Hataraku Watashi" (I, Worker)

Which, to me, evokes "I, Robot", the classical collection of robot short stories by Isaac Asimov. Forget the distorted movie version, read the collection. The Japanese seem to have a fascination for the concept of robots becoming the helpmates of man, the robot actors portray house servants. And that begs the question: would they be the Perfect Slaves? No sense of personal liberty, no desire to be free, no true independent thought. That was the underlying theme of Asimov's series, are these man-made creatures actually sentient beings?

13 comments:

Michael said...

I believe that level of intelligence will not be achievable for another millennium or so. Technology is expanding, in number, quality and efficiency, exponentially, but robots with human sentiment is something for people in the year 3000 or later to see.

Have you ever read Isaac Asmiov's The Last Question? It's my favorite piece by him. Although I appreciate Asimov's imagination and style, I generally did not like I-Robot compared to The Bicentennial Man, Nightfall, the Foundation series and some others. Just not my cup of tea. I hope I haven't upset you or anyone else that might really like it.

Michael.

Michael said...

Read The Last Question if you haven't already!

Chiara said...

Why are the Japanese so obsessed with this?

The Jules said...

All Hail Our New Plasticky Overlords!

Douglas said...

Michael, thanks for the link to The Last Question. It seems to me, in some distant corner of my mind, that I read that. I have read many, not all, of Asimov's work. I may have to begin re-reading it. I think you may be wrong about when that level of intelligence in robots will be reached. When I was a boy, a computer filled a large room and needed massive cooling to run. It did very little when compared to a hand held calculator that fits in your wallet these days. It is not possible to predict anything with certainty, as The Last Question might have taught you.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

Douglas, Michael, et al, similarly I have read a lot of Assimov in my younger years. My view is that any continued development in this area WILL lead the eventual demise of mankind as a species. We don't need robots to serve the tea and anyone who thinks so should seriously have their head examined. If I was posting on the subject my language would be stronger, but I defer to the fact that I am on a friend's blog... I desist, I also ramble on a bit... bleyf

AV
http://netherregionoftheearthii.blogspot.com/
http://tomusarcanum.blogspot.com/

Douglas said...

Don't hold back, AV, let it all out. You'll feel better. I don't think it's a matter of need. I think it's a matter of man's curiosity and innate desire to create and to move beyond what's deemed common labor.

The Logisitician said...

Just saw a news piece about a restaurant in Tokyo which uses monkeys to clean tables and cleanse ashtrays. The gimmick apparently generates additional business.

Just last night, a watched a History Channel piece as part of its UFO Researchers series, about individuals who had foreign objects in their bodies, which they suspected might be implants as a results of encounters with UFOs or aliens.

Even as far back as 10 years ago, a resarcher at the University of Southern California, was experimenting with growing living tissue on micro-chips. All fascinating stuff. It's only just begun. Let's just hope that America realizes, before it is too late, that the development of scientists, inventors, researchers is crucial to our continued prosperity.

Douglas said...

The advances in bionics and related fields have mushroomed in recent years. Even artificial hands now resemble human ones and are closer in function than people might imagine. Robotic prostheses become more "real" every day. Implants to restore hearing exist, microchips to process light (vision)are close to being practical. There is a lot of research in artificial intelligence that will bear fruit in the not so distant future.

Who knows? Maybe Mr.Data is not just fiction.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

But, Douglas, I like comman labour, it gives one a sense of satisfaction.

btw, I think Marvin was more handsome than your depiction for this budinge.

AV
http://netherregionoftheearthii.blogspot.com/
http://tomusarcanum.blogspot.com/

Argentum Vulgaris said...

Douglas, Michael, et al, similarly I have read a lot of Assimov in my younger years. My view is that any continued development in this area WILL lead the eventual demise of mankind as a species. We don't need robots to serve the tea and anyone who thinks so should seriously have their head examined. If I was posting on the subject my language would be stronger, but I defer to the fact that I am on a friend's blog... I desist, I also ramble on a bit... bleyf

AV
http://netherregionoftheearthii.blogspot.com/
http://tomusarcanum.blogspot.com/

Douglas said...

Michael, thanks for the link to The Last Question. It seems to me, in some distant corner of my mind, that I read that. I have read many, not all, of Asimov's work. I may have to begin re-reading it. I think you may be wrong about when that level of intelligence in robots will be reached. When I was a boy, a computer filled a large room and needed massive cooling to run. It did very little when compared to a hand held calculator that fits in your wallet these days. It is not possible to predict anything with certainty, as The Last Question might have taught you.

Chiara said...

Why are the Japanese so obsessed with this?