Note — Nov 21, 2021

Don’t Kick the Robot

Seen in → No.197

Source → theprepared.org/features-feed/dont-kick-the-rob...

The Prepared’s Members’ reading group in conversation with Kate Darling on our future with robots. I already featured an article / book excerpt by Darling back in April, here much of the same ground is covered but also shows how her thinking has advanced since then. Social robotics, and the speed of development of robots as compared to the slow changes in animal genetics are two new facets to read about.

We might think of a robot as something that automates a task, but once it becomes mainstream we call it something mundane, like a dishwasher. Our concept of robots has to do with novelty and excitement and is informed by these weird biases. […]

The point isn't to say that robots and animals are the same, but to explore how we've been able to use the physical and sensory abilities of animals to extend our own abilities and partner with them. This comparison helps open people's minds to new possibilities for robots. […]

If we compare algorithms to animals we've gone back to this age where we have put pigs on trials for the crimes they've committed, rather than holding the humans who are in charge of the pigs accountable. I think that that's a very important piece; what I want is rules that ensure humans are held accountable.