Thursday, May 8, 2014

Gods and Robots

It's Thursday, so it's time for my weekly random question...

I don't know what TV show was on in the background. It had something to do with Greek gods. My mind took this topic, morphed it, and an idea sprang forth. Let me see if I can get it into question format...

What if someday we create robots (or androids or some other mechanical creatures) that end up supplanting us? How will they remember us, their creators?

14 comments:

  1. LOL, the mind of a writer!!! Sounds like a great futuristic novel... Would robots be able to have the emotion to care about their creators in any sense?

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    1. Any part of the question I didn't specify is up to your interpretation. So, would the robots have emotions?

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  2. I keep thinking about Star trek and The Creator. V-ger comes to mind and in the original series-the little robot ended up committing Hari-Kari. I wonder if you could post that to your students and have them write a story

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  3. How will they remember us? Boy, those people sure needed a lot of upkeep.

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  4. As a lover of all things scifi, I've often considered this question. I've read some great books that address this question. The Mad Scientists Daughter comes to mind, along with The Robot Series by Isaac Asimov.

    Maybe there would be a war between the caretaking robots and the ones who think humans are a virus.

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  5. Fleshy meatbags that made the mistake of not living forever.

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  6. Couldn't we program something into their memory that would make them remember us?

    betty

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  7. That blog title alone gave me goosebumps. It made me instantaneously want to write a story with that title. Gods and Robots are two of my favorite themes. If you'd worked pizza into the title.

    OK I'm definitely going to steal the title and write a story about this sometime. But in the meantime the question is an awesome one, too.

    At first I thought they'd revere us the way we look up to our god(s). But do we? The Old Testament God is pretty arbitrary at times and not so much revered as feared and obeyed. Would the robots see us like that? Arbitrary, incomprehensible, illogical beings? Would our ways seem as strange to them as God's ways seem to us?

    Or would they see us as something to look up to, or aspire to, like Jesus: a better version of ourselves helping us all reach that? Would they want to become flesh, the way we (at least some of us) want to become spirits (eventually, that is.) A society of Pinocchios dreaming of the day they can be blessed and become more like their god.

    But what about other gods? Greek Gods were basically just powerful selfish humans, living in a state of nature. Norse gods were savage nobles, or vice versa. Some "gods" aren't even: Buddha, for example.

    But this is all how HUMANS would create or remember a god.

    Robots wouldn't necessarily think like us. For example, there would really be no doubt about how they were created... unless all the humans were gone and were simply mythical thoughts in a distant past, a world of self-generating robots crafting legends about how, once there hadn't been any robots at all.

    Would there be robot evolutionists, who insisted that Robotkind had started as pocket calculators, and then as giant clunky boxes and Furbys, before evolving (with a few nudges from their gods) into their present forms?

    In that world, robots wouldn't necessarily all look humanoid: if they're sentient and possibly creative (they have myths after all) they could craft themselves to look like anything and suit themselves to their tasks. All advanced cultures eventually begin morphing their bodies (we use plastic surgery and dieting and exercise), so robots might do that, getting farther and farther from how they looked when we made them.

    There might be robot atheists, who insist that nothing came before, and robot agnostics, who don't want to commit to the idea of life after unplugging.

    With so many different varieties, would they break their gods into groups, like early man did? Would their logic deny an immortal influence on weather, lives, the universe? Would we even be seen as gods, if clearly we hadn't had the power to do more than simply create robots?

    Can you tell it's very late for me? (10:14 p.m.)

    I'm not going to be able to stop thinking about this.

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    1. Oops. Didn't mean to keep you up last night...

      I like my questions to have these sorts of layers. Glad they were there for you.

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  8. Theoretically, robots would be able to carry the "memory" of their creation perfectly for all time without any distortion, so it really shouldn't be an issue.

    Unless someone erased all of their memories...

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  9. I wonder if a robot could ever have an appreciation of the fine arts? Maybe they would think of us as ethereal, creative gods. But who would oil them?

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    1. Well, if they exist after us, presumably they wouldn't need oil. But who knows?

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  10. Oh I do like that question, there's a novel in it I'm sure...which is why I love the TV show Revolution, as it's beginning to deal with something similar at the moment (well here in Ireland). So many ideas...might steal that story line lol.

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