Sorry, Robbie, But You’re Not Human #edcmooc

Watching this video I could not help experiencing a sense of déjà vu..Shades of Blade Runner, perhaps ? It could well be a replicant from Blade Runner describing his final moments. Robbie.. the dying robot. Similar to the dying “replcants” of Blade Runner, seeking an extension of their soon-to-end life spans, Robbie is a machine with capable of experiencing emotions and feelings. A very lonely and homesick Robbie, wishing that he was back home with friends, among familiar surroundings. Wishful thinking and wistfulness… very powerful human emotions.

“Here, the boundary between human and machine is questioned – if Robbie is capable of experiencing loneliness, happiness, faith and friendship, in what senses is he not human?”

My answer to this ? To the extent that he is not “Made Of Meat.”

Robbie may be endowed with all of a human being’s emotions and feelings, and yet he is not human simply because we humans do not depend on artificial intelligence. We depend on a real, living, organic brain that guides our thought processes and our actions, not a chip-controlled mind telling us what to do. True, all the emotions experienced by Robbie are human. But that does not make him capable of replacing a human. If I was Robbie’s friend, and if Robbie was to die, would I be heartbroken ? The answer is NO. Sad, perhaps, but not heartbroken. Because Robbie is a machine made by man. Robbie is replaceable. If he machine dies,  A close loved one – a human being -is not replaceable.

I’m someone who “cares” for the machines I use, because a machine will perform as good or as bad as it is kept. To get optimum performance out of a machine, one needs to look after them and maintain them well. That does not make machines human. And even if our Robbie was given a complete human appearance like the replicants of Blade Runner, that still would not make him human.


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