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A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

SO we create this bio-brain that has a soul, it is creative, it feels, is
aware and so on. I presume it also has a bio-body that resembles a human.
Then we ought to start thinking about the robotic laws put forth in the
science fiction tale by Asimov in "I, Robot", for it is after all a
man-made creation - not a real human being. Asimov's 'Three Laws of
Robotics' are: 

1.  A robot must not harm a human being, nor through inaction allow one to
come to harm.
2.  A robot must always obey human beings, unless that is in conflict with
the first law.
3.  A robot must protect itself from harm, unless that is in conflict with
the first or second laws.

How can this bio-creation distinguish between human and machine? -- for we
are both machines (one created, one evolved - which one is which?!).  Are
they equal - more likely the bio-creation will be superior - it's bound to
have more intelligence, be crafted aesthetically...greek beauties, not
prone to wearing out, disease, etc. Or are they to be slaves, pets, sex

It's all well and good arguing the case: we are machines, and thus we can
create machines that can imitate (or even have) human-like qualities
(and foibles), but why? for what purpose?

I work with MA students in Computer Related Design who often get excited
about using a particular technology for its own sake. I always ask them
to consider why -- what are you trying to say, what is the drive behind
your desire?
Sure the quest for knowledge itself is almost enough, a self motivating
desire, the conquering of the unknown is an exciting area, but frankly I
do find myself wondering why we get so hooked up in creating for its own
sake without thought or regard to consequences. Some may argue this is
perfectly reasonable - we "naturally" reap the consequences and have no
real control of our destiny for we are unable to predict the use and
misuse of our inventions. Others could even argue that the next step in
evolution is to devolve ourselves out of existence by creating the next
super-race (genetically or biomechanically).

"Think on young man, think on..." 

Richard Brown  <r.brown@rca.ac.uk>

Research Fellow,
Computer Related Design,
Royal College of Art,
Kensington Gore,
London SW7 2EU.

Tel: 0171 590 4296 (direct line)
Fax: 0171 590 4290


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