Social Robots

We have been discussing social robotics and how they will play a role in society. I see them as a double edge sword; on the one hand they are nice in that they can provide companionship for the sick, elderly, etc. However, on the other hand, they run the risk of alienating people from other people. For example, there are already known instances of people getting attached to random pieces of technology…how much more attached will people get if the technology shows emotion, and can act and react to your inputs and behaviors.

The discussions remind me of a series of books I read last year called the Foundation Series. In it, there were robots so advanced that the characters could not tell them apart from other humans. They had all the characteristics of a human; they spoke the language, had emotions and a could even bleed and be injured. However, it was near impossible to kill them. I am not sure we’ll ever get to a point where robotics are that advanced in my lifetime, but it is a disconcerting thing to think about.

At some point, there will probably need to be limits placed on social robotics…a good analogy for it is what we are experiencing with social networks right now. Policy is just now starting to address the technology even though it has been around a couple decades. I think the same will hold true for social robotics. We will get to a tipping point where social robotics are so ubiquitous, that policies will need to be put into place to help keep some sort of order and limits on social robotics. Otherwise we risk issues we have not even thought about yet coming to pass…

Posted on November 1, 2019 at 7:02 pm

1 Comment

Comments (1)

  1. Rachel Bachelder Reply

    November 4, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Farakh, I couldn’t agree more about how you feel about this – I’m personally not a big fan of social robots as a concept but that’s just me. I like interacting with real humans which maybe not a lot of people agree with. My generation was the last to have a true childhood that weren’t behind a screen all day long – and you can see the social implications. Day to day, we don’t sit in waiting rooms and start conversations, we sit on our phones and are immediately gratified by conversations with people that aren’t around us. Think of all the conversations you could’ve had that would’ve benefit your community or brainstormed a new and novel idea, but we have socially limited ourselves now. I don’t think the conversations would get to the intellectual level that others could off just key word algorithms. I think we need more social interactions not less.

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