If machines shall be our masters, or if we go the dark route and start becoming part robot ourselves, does the synthetic side need to feel pain? Should your new robot arm send pain signals to your brain when you burn it on the stove or slice through it cutting vegetables? Does robot butler need to suffer when he falls down the stairs carrying laundry?
If a UN Soldier tunes up a robot with some kind of directed energy weapon during the forthcoming War of the Fates should that robot be left in the dirt screaming in agony just like we would? And why limit it simply to the physical variety of pain? Could we also not build robots that can suffer emotionally too? Is this even possible?
I have no idea, but we might get there. This new BBC article is, Researchers teach robots to ‘feel pain’
Some articles make me smile upfront because for whatever reason I find the concept very amusing. But when you read the article they make it pretty clear that they’re not talking pain as we understand it, but rather a self preservation variety. The robot will sense “pain” as a means to prevent damage to itself while conducting tasks.
For instance if in 30 years a robot assassin is beating you to death with his titanium club, and you fight back with a discarded tree log, the robot will favor his right arm if you smash it rather than just continuing to use it until it breaks.
Or in a less lunatic scenario if a car making robot starts to feel “pain” because he accidently got his arm caught in the thresher he’ll withdraw his arm instead of just carrying on. Read reflexes, just like us.
But just to truly even the playing field and as a preparatory action to seed the battlefield before the war begins, we should also make sure to build robots with the emotional side of pain too. That way they can be just as miserable as the rest of us.
Think of how much harder it’ll be for the robots to enslave humanity when:
– Robot gets sad because he dropped his iced cream bar, which he coveted greatly
– Machine endures crippling depression caused by 17 straight days of rain and/or mostly cloudy weather
– Robot feels some sense of remorse as it leads human captive(s) to the conveyer belt
– They have to constantly endure annoyance as robot they don’t like sends never-ending data stream of 0s and 1s into their brain, while they’re eating lunch, even when robot’s back is turned indicating a total lack of desire to communicate with other robot
– Machine soldier becomes totally ineffective on the battlefield by constantly responding to directives to slay all organics with, “Why?”
– Robot boss responds to impetuous robot employees with raw anger, unnecessary rage, and unjust behavior resulting in wage discrimination, poor working conditions, and a completely unfulfilling robot employment experience
– Machines express unbridled fury or jaded apathy at rampant incompetence and greed of failed robot leader after failed robot leader
– A slew of robots determine the answer to their problems is the unrestrained use of an ever increasing quantity of machine brain expanding drugs
– Machine seeks emotional and physical connection with another robot, only to see it end in the same vicious soul searing divorce failure that 50% of the rest of us endure
– Robots invent Robot God, robots kill Robot God, robots invent Robot God, and so on
Or, the robots would just program out pain, emotional or physical, and then finish us off. Eh, maybe we, maybe we need a kill switch around that code? Yeah, definitely.
just you wait, you have no idea how much of a hell hole it is out there, bro