Would you turn off life support?

Shenae's Paige

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When we consider our relationship with technology, it is us that holds the ability to have emotional attachments and feelings. We see technology as a tool. But how would we feel if technology had feelings?

You could say technology is a slave to us: it has no say, no feelings, no emotions, and does as we want at our perusal. But what if it could react to us? Say, when we yell at our devices for not working, when we lose something, how would it make us feel if we thought our technologies react to us?

I would be interested in creating a study of human reactions to artificially-created emotional relationships between human and technology. If robots could react to us, would we start treating them as valuable life? What if we did whatever it takes to keep our devices alive? For example, you have a phone, you’ve had it for years, it starts mucking up…

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2 thoughts on “Would you turn off life support?”

  1. It is interesting how you said technology is a slave to us, did you know the word robot (the thing that comes to mind when you think artificial intelligence) was actually derived from the word slave?

    It was coined by artist Josef Čapek, trying to come up with the name it was suggested he use ‘Roboti which ’ derives from the Old Slavanic ‘rabota’, meaning ‘servitude’, which in turn comes from ‘rabu’, meaning ‘slave’.

    When AI is developed enough to resemble a personality, it certainly will be harder to dispose of them because the connection we feel will be real. But the question is, is the relationship real if the technology doesn’t feel

    I suggest you watch the movie Her, there is one scene in particular where the protagonist thinks he has lost the AI he loves due to an update. His reaction (although just a movie) was really heartbreaking. Also Ex Machina where the protagonist feels emotion for the AI but your left wondering if its reciprocal.

    Here is video of Microsoft’s managing director of research discussing the near future of human like technology…


  2. This idea is really interesting as it does pose a sense of a strange kind of danger to do with the advancements of A.I. If futuristic A.I’s are capable of forming some type of bond with users, where will the line be drawn? If the user can not tell if the A.I is a robot or human, yet the bond feels authentic, is it a problem?
    As mentioned above this idea is explored thoroughly in the movie “Her”, and to a lesser extent with Bladerunner’s Voight Kampff test, and originally this was explored through The Turing test, developed by Alan Turing in 1950. It tested a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. It’s a greatly influential argument, that has become a major concept in the philosophy of artificial intelligence, so I feel this would be a good place to begin research for your project!
    Good luck!


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