• Harry Hindu
    749
    What if we designed a robot that could act scared when it saw a snake? Purely mechanical of course. Part of the fear response would be the hydraulic pump responsible for oiling the joints speeds up, and that higher conduction velocity wires are brought into play to facilitate faster reaction times. This control system is regulated through feedback loops wired into the head of the robot. When the snake is spotted the control paths in the head of the robot suddenly reroute power away from non-essential compartments such as recharging the batteries and into the peripheral sense receptors. Artificial pupils dilate to increase information through sight, and so on.MikeL

    How do we know that we are scared if not an awareness of our own physical characteristics - heart beating faster, adrenaline rush, the need to run, etc. and then know the symbol for those characteristics occurring together - "fear" - in order to communicate that you fear something.

    You mention the physical characteristics of fear. All that is needed is an awareness of those physical characteristics and a label, or designation, for those characteristics - "fear". In this sense, the robot would know fear, and know that it fears if it can associate those characteristics with its self. A robot can be aware of its own condition and then communicate that condition to others if it has instructions for which symbol refers to which condition: "fear", "content", "sad", etc.
  • MikeL
    638
    I agree. Just like people.
    The fun thing to explain, like Nelson alluded to, is when we have a tone of positively weighted inputs, that when summed lead to the opposite feeling. For example, you may hate the way a yellow beach house looks at sunset, yet independently love yellow, beaches, houses and sunsets. You might have to surmise a contradiction has occurred (eg beaches are nature, nature is inviolable, beaches are nice but on a beach violate nature - or something to that effect).
    I believe it can be coded though - you can code the illogical without it being a fault.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    574
    What if we designed a robot that could act scared when it saw a snake? Purely mechanical of course. Part of the fear response would be the hydraulic pump responsible for oiling the joints speeds up, and that higher conduction velocity wires are brought into play to facilitate faster reaction times. This control system is regulated through feedback loops wired into the head of the robot. When the snake is spotted the control paths in the head of the robot suddenly reroute power away from non-essential compartments such as recharging the batteries and into the peripheral sense receptors. Artificial pupils dilate to increase information through sight, and so on.

    This robot has been programmed with a few phrases that let the programmer know what is happening in the circuits, "batteries low" that sought of thing. In the case of the snake it reads all these reactions and gives the feedback "I'm scared."

    Is is really scared?
    MikeL

    The robot isn't really scared if it's just programmed to say, "I'm scared."

    But, if some genuine menace (a snake probably wouldn't menace a robot) triggered measures for self-protection, then it could be said that the robot is scared.

    It's the old question of what you call "conscious".

    The experience of a purposefully-responsive device is that device's surroundings and events, in the context of the purpose(s) of its purposeful response.

    The robot can be scared.

    Dogs, cats, and all other animals, are, of course much more like us than the robot is. For one thing, all of us animals result from natural-selection, and the purposes and precautions that go with that. Harming an animal of any kind is very much like harming a human.

    Michael Ossipoff
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