Phlogiston-debunking about robotics
Got back to this interview of Bruce Sterling about robots in 2005 and found some intriguing points:
"AM: How do you think robots will be defined in the future?
BS: I'd be guessing that redefining human beings will always trump redefining robots. Robots are just our shadow, our funhouse-mirror reflection. If there were such a thing as robots with real intelligence, will, and autonomy, they probably wouldn't want to mimic human beings or engage with our own quirky obsessions. We wouldn't have a lot in common with them-we're organic, they're not; we're mortal, they're not; we eat, they don't; we have entire sets of metabolic motives, desires, and passions that really are of very little relevance to anything made of machinery.
AM: What's in the future of robotics that is likely very different from most people's expectations?
BS: Robots won't ever really work. They're a phantasm, like time travel or maybe phlogiston. On the other hand, if you really work hard on phlogiston, you might stumble over something really cool and serendipitous, like heat engines and internal combustion. Robots are just plain interesting. When scientists get emotionally engaged, they can do good work. What the creative mind needs most isn't a cozy sinecure but something to get enthusiastic about.
AM: When will robots be allowed to vote?
BS: At this point, I'd be thrilled to see humans allowed to vote."
Why do I blog this? Only because I liked his description and the phlogiston-debunking tone of the interview.