The subjects of robots and androids have fascinated me since I cannot remember when. When I was a kid, they seemed about as far-fetched as going to Alpha Centauri. Theses days, I want to know why we haven’t colonized Alpha Centauri Bb yet, never mind Mars. So, set that horrible “D.A.R.Y.L.” movie aside for a while, and have a look below at reality.
The Geminoid HI-1 project, as seem here in the “Humanoid Robot – Geminoid HI-1 Android Prototype” YouTube video, is the most advanced public project concerning androids. When I first came across this research, I thought that making an android copy of yourself was in creditably arrogant. However, I now see more then a few advantages to the concept, like having 24-7 access to yourself so you can work whenever you have a mind to do so, and not just when your human model is available.
After seeing the short video below, you might also want to look at the longer versions of “Ars Electronica 2009: Geminoid HL-1 with Horst Hörtner (Part 1)” and “Ars Electronica 2009: Geminoid HL-1 with Horst Hörtner (Part 2).”
So, moving in an entirely different direction, we see the beginnings of a domestic android labour population, and all the good and evil that that may entail. One of most interesting facts to me about Eastern Religious traditions is the theological position that things in the organic world, trees, flowers, rocks, sea shells, and similar, have souls. I myself do not have a particular problem with this idea, not that I will go so far as to let termites invade my house. I’m all for termite genocide. But the theological position that both non-human and non-organic materials have souls bares interesting implications for the development and further creation of androids. Honestly, it won’t be to long before these creations are ambulatory and participating in our society. Once upon a time ago, I remember reading an Isaac Asimov story in which he predicted android teachers for children, in a one to one ratio. I remember thinking at the time that that was daft, that it would lead to social isolation (which Asimov deals with in other stories), and that it would never be practical. Now though, after a few years of teaching, I see the practical benefits. I’m sure even a crude android has more patience for being asked the same questions over and over again than I do.
And of course, there is the the dark side: “Niia – Made For You.”