Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question)

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Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question)

Postby Maraki » Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:06 pm UTC

This discussion is based on the works of Isaac Asimov, particularly Positronic Man and Bicentennial Man. Although this subject matter is lightly touched upon (and probably worth more mention) in other subjects (such as Free Will?, Sex and Love with Robots, Artificial Intelligence, Transhumanism, Strong A.I. & Simulations, Automation & Job Losses - and there is a Robot Ethics thread, but it has been dead for about 4 years, as are all but two of the aforementioned threads, and such a broad topic (robots) deserves a more modular approach anyways.), I believe it needs, nay, begs a thread of its own, so here is/are the question(s):

Can a robot ever be considered human through physical/psychological changes? If so, what exactly are the guidelines and rules for this transformation? In the stories of Andrew Martin (a robot who legally becomes human), the people find many different ways to justify the his humanity, such as being able to die "naturally" (for surely a robot can die through deconstruction/destruction, although what does it truly mean for a robot to die?), to react to "various abstractions as you and I", creative thought/sentience, empathy and emotion, and a few varied others. What else can prove (or disprove) humanity in a robot?
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby mmmcannibalism » Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:18 pm UTC

Short answer.

The question is can you make a synthetic life form that has everything we consider as the basis for calling something human. At the very least, I don't see why you shouldn't be able to make what amounts to a replica** of a human brain made out of different materials and hook it up to a body.

**that is, create a thing that in terms of computing process behaves in every way like a human brain.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Shivahn » Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:23 pm UTC

Maraki wrote:Can a robot ever be considered human through physical/psychological changes? If so, what exactly are the guidelines and rules for this transformation? In the stories of Andrew Martin (a robot who legally becomes human), the people find many different ways to justify the his humanity, such as being able to die "naturally" (for surely a robot can die through deconstruction/destruction, although what does it truly mean for a robot to die?), to react to "various abstractions as you and I", creative thought/sentience, empathy and emotion, and a few varied others. What else can prove (or disprove) humanity in a robot?


It kind of depends entirely on how you define human.

Create a non ad-hoc definition of human and the answer is going to be pretty clear.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Duban » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:03 pm UTC

Well, if you think humans are just machines with an extremely complex AI there's no reason to think we can't make a robot with reasoning as complex as a human. I mean, we are just machine too. Extremely complicated machines, but still machines. Our mear existance proves that a machine with this level of thought is possible

Unless you believe that some part of the human "spirit" is purely supernatural and impossible to recreate physically, why not? Now, the only real limit is if humans are smart enough to do so. Is the human condition capable of recreating a sentient mind? That remains to be seen.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Vaniver » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:22 pm UTC

People can be easily tricked into thinking dogs are human. Do you really think robots will find it that much more difficult?
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:37 pm UTC

Oh my GOD this puts everything I value under new scrutiny! What is it to BE human? If a machine can learn... maybe we can too?! Oooooh god it's like all my urges and desires are coded imperatives! What if... le gasp! *I'M* just an organic robot?!

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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Beardhammer » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:28 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Oh my GOD this puts everything I value under new scrutiny! What is it to BE human? If a machine can learn... maybe we can too?! Oooooh god it's like all my urges and desires are coded imperatives! What if... le gasp! *I'M* just an organic robot?!

Whelp, better follow my imperatives: I'll be in my bunk.


I volunteer to be the first dude that tries to have his brain downloaded into a robot body. Screw this squishy flesh and blood crap, give me steel and oil, meatbags.

Could a robot be considered human? I don't really see why not, if you can figure out what it means to be human (and spare us the religious/superstitious mumbo jumbo, thanks.) Honestly, it seems like if you could just create a theory of mind (apparently "theory of mind" is more correct than "mind" since we apparently can't yet prove exactly what a mind is to begin with) you'd be well on your way there. Self-awareness, the ability to make one's own decisions, and the ability to "think"... those are really the only things that set us apart from really smart animals, right? And even then that's not completely solid, since the smarter animals could end up being smarter than us, just being unable to communicate in a way we can understand easily.

Also we humans tend to be arrogant. I think people would be offended if it turned out a pig was smarter than the average human.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Zcorp » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:36 am UTC

Beardhammer wrote:And even then that's not completely solid, since the smarter animals could end up being smarter than us, just being unable to communicate in a way we can understand easily.

Also we humans tend to be arrogant. I think people would be offended if it turned out a pig was smarter than the average human.

Pigs aren't smarter than the average human...The smarter animals are not smarter than us...I think you are failing to understand even the most basic aspects of intelligence. Humans being smarter than anything we have run across is 'completely solid.'

and to more directly address the topic, one aspect of humanity as defined by the Bicentennial Man is mortality (err this was mentioned in the OP). The concept of lovotics is interesting as well. One thing Asimov certainly got wrong was the time frame in which we will have robots that are Humaniform. Before we really have a robot that can carry on conversation and interact in the world similar to a R. Daneel we will have robots that feel like and display behaviors (facial expressions, cultural standards etc) of humans.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:44 pm UTC

Beardhammer wrote:Also we humans tend to be arrogant.

Yes, a trait that robots with their impeccable logic would never suffer from.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Demented Teddy » Sun Jul 03, 2011 4:53 pm UTC

Robots can never be human and should never be treated as such, they are machines, created to perform a service, nothing more.

I think any signs of sentience should be stamped out immediately, they would be a threat otherwise, strangle the baby in the crib as they say.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:09 pm UTC

Demented Teddy wrote:Babies can grow up into murderers

I think any signs of sentience should be stamped out immediately, they would be a threat otherwise, strangle the baby in the crib as they say.


Unless you have an argument against the possibility of creating something functionally equivalent to a human brain using technology; there is no reason machines can't be "human"
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Demented Teddy » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:16 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
Demented Teddy wrote:Babies can grow up into murderers

I think any signs of sentience should be stamped out immediately, they would be a threat otherwise, strangle the baby in the crib as they say.


Unless you have an argument against the possibility of creating something functionally equivalent to a human brain using technology; there is no reason machines can't be "human"


A machine can not be human not matter how much you advance it's A.I.


It is, as I said, a machine.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:17 pm UTC

Demented Teddy wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:
Demented Teddy wrote:Babies can grow up into murderers

I think any signs of sentience should be stamped out immediately, they would be a threat otherwise, strangle the baby in the crib as they say.


Unless you have an argument against the possibility of creating something functionally equivalent to a human brain using technology; there is no reason machines can't be "human"


A machine can not be human not matter how much you advance it's A.I.


It is, as I said, a machine.


and in what way is a human brain unique such that it cannot be synthetically replicated?
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Demented Teddy » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:28 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
Demented Teddy wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:
Demented Teddy wrote:Babies can grow up into murderers

I think any signs of sentience should be stamped out immediately, they would be a threat otherwise, strangle the baby in the crib as they say.


Unless you have an argument against the possibility of creating something functionally equivalent to a human brain using technology; there is no reason machines can't be "human"


A machine can not be human not matter how much you advance it's A.I.


It is, as I said, a machine.


and in what way is a human brain unique such that it cannot be synthetically replicated?


Disregarding the fact that we are way off the point of scientific advancement to achieve anything like that, it is still a machine, just one that someone shoved a brain into it to act as it's CPU.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:05 pm UTC

The question isn't whether this is feasible now, or tomorrow, or next week, but at all ever. The fact that we can't do it now in absolutely no way indicates we won't develop the capability. (Nothing says we WILL, to be fair, but we have no reason to believe it will never become possible.)

You keep saying "It's a machine, it's a machine, it's a machine." That's not an actual argument.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Demented Teddy » Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:08 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:The question isn't whether this is feasible now, or tomorrow, or next week, but at all ever. The fact that we can't do it now in absolutely no way indicates we won't develop the capability. (Nothing says we WILL, to be fair, but we have no reason to believe it will never become possible.)

You keep saying "It's a machine, it's a machine, it's a machine." That's not an actual argument.


My argument is that no matter how hard you try, you can't make a "human" robot. A robot is nothing more than a machine, no matter how much organs you jam into it.

A human must be birthed or cloned, you can not manufacture a robot to think and act like a human and then say it's human.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Demented Teddy » Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:14 pm UTC

And now for something purely objective:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:06 pm UTC

Oh yes, that convinced me.

Perhaps you should explain what it is you think 'being human' is, and then tell us why a machine could never do/be that.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Ulc » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:14 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Perhaps you should explain what it is you think 'being human' is, and then tell us why a machine could never do/be that.


A member of the Homo Sapiens specie. Which is why a robot wont ever be a human.

Which in no way implies that it's a inferior type of intelligence, since humans after all is just a machine as well. A biological machine at that, but in no way inherently superior.

I suppose that if we one day mastered the technology necessary to down to the last detail, so that nothing is different from a Homo Sapiens, it would in fact be possible, I just don't see that happening ever, without using the capability of growth that humans have. In which case we're not dealing with a machine, but a artificial human.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:25 pm UTC

If you're using genetics as your marker, I think that's rather silly and limiting, as well as missing the point of the question. Bicentennial man is in the title; if you haven't seen the film/read the story, it's about a robot that over time, replaces every part of it's 'body' with human components, and the point being, makes himself mortal. Are you going to argue that a human without an organic, womb-grown heart isn't a human?

What makes the story interesting is that Asimov plays with your understand of 'what is human'. If you are only able to look at the story and say "Nope, not a human. Doesn't belong to Homo sapiens", you rather miss the point of the story.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Glass Fractal » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:46 pm UTC

A robot can't be human (though one might blur the line into meaninglessness) but it can be a person.

[edit] I misread the question. Ship of Theseus, and all that. A robot could be indistinguishable from a human. At that point no matter how fine a semantic point you want to make I don't think it really matters.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby doogly » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:53 pm UTC

Yeah, in order to be classed as a sentient, be allowed to vote, etc, I require the Turing Test. In order to be classed as human, you might need 51% organic composition, something like that. Bicentennial Man should have that no problem.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:15 pm UTC

doogly wrote:In order to be classed as human, you might need 51% organic composition

Der, why?
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby doogly » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:56 pm UTC

You might need even stricter criteria for that! Homo sapiens are the only humans. Dolphins also can't be humans, but they should probably get the right to vote by the year 3000 or so.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Soralin » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:44 pm UTC

doogly wrote:You might need even stricter criteria for that! Homo sapiens are the only humans. Dolphins also can't be humans, but they should probably get the right to vote by the year 3000 or so.

Indeed:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uplift_Universe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_uplift

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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:03 am UTC

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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Beardhammer » Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:18 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:
Beardhammer wrote:And even then that's not completely solid, since the smarter animals could end up being smarter than us, just being unable to communicate in a way we can understand easily.

Also we humans tend to be arrogant. I think people would be offended if it turned out a pig was smarter than the average human.

Pigs aren't smarter than the average human...The smarter animals are not smarter than us...I think you are failing to understand even the most basic aspects of intelligence. Humans being smarter than anything we have run across is 'completely solid.'


[Citation Needed]

Wikipedia says some dudes in a book called Mainstream Science on Intelligence defined intelligence as:

Wikipedia wrote:A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—"catching on," "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do.[5]


That last bit is important. Numerous animals have been tested to display behaviors like that - see Wikipedia's article on Animal Cognition for examples. Now, would a pig or dolphin read and write as well as a human? Of course not. They'd probably fail the SAT, too. But those tests are designed by humans, for humans, and I wouldn't exactly say they're fair to non-humans as a form of intelligence test - it'd be like developing an intelligence test based around smell or sound and then saying a dog (whose senses of sound and smell are far superior to a human's) is smarter than a human because they did better than a human did.

As far as intelligence goes - using that definition above - I'd say there are numerous animals that are as intelligent as humans are. Whether they have a true theory of mind or consciousness or anything like that is a different subject in my mind, and as far as I'm aware that's an intensely debated subject because it's really hard to definitely test that sort of thing for creatures that don't think and act like humans do.

Demented Teddy wrote:Robots can never be human and should never be treated as such, they are machines

Ulc wrote:Which in no way implies that it's a inferior type of intelligence, since humans after all is just a machine as well.


:roll:

I think we're using "human" in different meanings here. Some people are using "human" as something exchangeable with "person", while others are using "human" in the objective sense of "That's a human. This is an ape. And that over there is a robot."
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:04 am UTC

Beardhammer wrote:I think we're using "human" in different meanings here. Some people are using "human" as something exchangeable with "person", while others are using "human" in the objective sense of "That's a human. This is an ape. And that over there is a robot."

Yes, and thus completely missing the point of the thread.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Zcorp » Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:47 pm UTC

Beardhammer wrote:
Wikipedia wrote:A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—"catching on," "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do.[5]


That last bit is important. Numerous animals have been tested to display behaviors like that - see Wikipedia's article on Animal Cognition for examples. Now, would a pig or dolphin read and write as well as a human? Of course not. They'd probably fail the SAT, too. But those tests are designed by humans, for humans, and I wouldn't exactly say they're fair to non-humans as a form of intelligence test - it'd be like developing an intelligence test based around smell or sound and then saying a dog (whose senses of sound and smell are far superior to a human's) is smarter than a human because they did better than a human did.
Yes some animals have displayed the ability to use barely or create tools and some can be trained to use language.

They don't display a deeper capability of comprehending our surroundings, none make fire, none invented complex language (nor understand human language without specific training and even that is questionable), none invent tools with any level of complexity (like a wheel, or sharpened rock), none merge fairly different materials to create a more complex tool (say a sharpened stone tied to a stick by bamboo, let alone taking a skin and using leather). They are no where close the human level of ability to plan, solve problems, think abstractly or create or comprehend complex ideas let alone tools.

As far as intelligence goes - using that definition above - I'd say there are numerous animals that are as intelligent as humans are.
That's because you don't understand the implications and behaviors associated with the above definition.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Beardhammer » Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:45 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:
Beardhammer wrote:
Wikipedia wrote:A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—"catching on," "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do.[5]


That last bit is important. Numerous animals have been tested to display behaviors like that - see Wikipedia's article on Animal Cognition for examples. Now, would a pig or dolphin read and write as well as a human? Of course not. They'd probably fail the SAT, too. But those tests are designed by humans, for humans, and I wouldn't exactly say they're fair to non-humans as a form of intelligence test - it'd be like developing an intelligence test based around smell or sound and then saying a dog (whose senses of sound and smell are far superior to a human's) is smarter than a human because they did better than a human did.
Yes some animals have displayed the ability to use barely or create tools and some can be trained to use language.

They don't display a deeper capability of comprehending our surroundings, none make fire, none invented complex language (nor understand human language without specific training and even that is questionable), none invent tools with any level of complexity (like a wheel, or sharpened rock), none merge fairly different materials to create a more complex tool (say a sharpened stone tied to a stick by bamboo, let alone taking a skin and using leather). They are no where close the human level of ability to plan, solve problems, think abstractly or create or comprehend complex ideas let alone tools.

As far as intelligence goes - using that definition above - I'd say there are numerous animals that are as intelligent as humans are.
That's because you don't understand the implications and behaviors associated with the above definition.


And you're also basing this all off of a HUMAN, subjective, perspective. Your examples all cater to a purely human standpoint. But from the definition's standpoint:
"catching on," "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do.
I don't really see how you can say that humans are necessarily smarter than animals doing the same things. There are many, many animals that are plainly superior hunters to humans, and not just because they have superior senses of smell, hearing, and vision.

Hell, as far as tool use goes, chimpanzees have been observed using sharpened sticks (spears) as weapons while hunting. I mean, yeah, it's not like they're forging a Ka-Bar and then using martial arts to go kick the shit out of some gorillas cramping their style, but at a basic level, that's a very human-like level of intelligence.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Zamfir » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:35 am UTC

Beardhammer wrote: There are many, many animals that are plainly superior hunters to humans, and not just because they have superior senses of smell, hearing, and vision.

No? There are no animals that come close to the hunting skills of, say, a simple fishing trawler. A trawler is the end product of a proces of making sense of the world and figuring out what to do that's obviously far, far beyond any other species. The superior hunters of the sea are our food, like tuna, and we're not even aquatic animals.

In fact, trawlers are so good at hunting fish that they accidentally catch lots of sharks and dolphins. So humans change their nets to catch less of them. We like having more of those hunters around, because they're cute. The same goes for most large land carnivores that could compete with us ecologically, and for great apes. We have preservation efforts for them.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby thorgold » Wed Jul 06, 2011 1:28 am UTC

Demented Teddy wrote:
Princess Marzipan wrote:The question isn't whether this is feasible now, or tomorrow, or next week, but at all ever. The fact that we can't do it now in absolutely no way indicates we won't develop the capability. (Nothing says we WILL, to be fair, but we have no reason to believe it will never become possible.)

You keep saying "It's a machine, it's a machine, it's a machine." That's not an actual argument.


My argument is that no matter how hard you try, you can't make a "human" robot. A robot is nothing more than a machine, no matter how much organs you jam into it.

A human must be birthed or cloned, you can not manufacture a robot to think and act like a human and then say it's human.

You define "human" strictly by phyiscal qualities. To you, a human being is only an organism that has the genetic makeup of a Homo Sapien. So, does this mean that, if we could keep someone's brain alive in a jar, they'd no longer be human? Would the act of losing one's body be an act of losing your humanity? No, because humans are not defined by their hardware - we're defined by our minds. To say otherwise is to affirm the foundational beliefs of racism - your reasoning that robots can never be human is the same reasoning that slave owners and Caucasians used against the "lesser" people.

Whether a robot can be human depends on your definition of human. If you believe that humans are nothing more than natural organisms, our intelligence driven by unimaginably complex chemical reactions and electrical signals, then yes, robots could eventually be created. However, in this scenario, it would be necessary to redefine "human." In the future, where "human" robots are a possibility, "human" would be a term reserved for only organics, while "people" would refer to all sapient beings - including robots.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Beardhammer » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:24 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Beardhammer wrote: There are many, many animals that are plainly superior hunters to humans, and not just because they have superior senses of smell, hearing, and vision.

No? There are no animals that come close to the hunting skills of, say, a simple fishing trawler. A trawler is the end product of a proces of making sense of the world and figuring out what to do that's obviously far, far beyond any other species. The superior hunters of the sea are our food, like tuna, and we're not even aquatic animals.

In fact, trawlers are so good at hunting fish that they accidentally catch lots of sharks and dolphins. So humans change their nets to catch less of them. We like having more of those hunters around, because they're cute. The same goes for most large land carnivores that could compete with us ecologically, and for great apes. We have preservation efforts for them.


Yeah, and what's a fishing trawler? Something we have to create to make up for a natural lack of ability. Humans suck ass at being hunters, compared to a lot of animals we share territory with (though for the past, I dunno, couple thousand years it's more like the territory we let them occupy.) That's why we have to make things like rifles, tree stands, and even fishing poles - because we lack the ability to do these things ourselves, so we need something else to do it for us.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Zcorp » Wed Jul 06, 2011 6:44 am UTC

Beardhammer wrote:Yeah, and what's a fishing trawler? Something we have to create to make up for a natural lack of ability. Humans suck ass at being hunters, compared to a lot of animals we share territory with (though for the past, I dunno, couple thousand years it's more like the territory we let them occupy.) That's why we have to make things like rifles, tree stands, and even fishing poles - because we lack the ability to do these things ourselves, so we need something else to do it for us.

No, we are really good at being hunters because so much smarter than all other animals. That is a natural ability, that is the entire point here.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:36 pm UTC

Beardhammer wrote:That's why we have to make things like rifles, tree stands, and even fishing poles - because we lack the ability to do these things ourselves, so we need something else to do it for us.

Yeah, that's why sharks have teeth and lions have claws; they suck so much at rending, that they need some kind of tool to do it for them.

Humans are the top predator, virtually everywhere. I wager somewhere in the world there are peoples who still occasionally die to some kind of large dangerous animal, but overall, people win out vs. nature every time.

If you're going to be glib about it, I'd say the worlds true 'top animal' is some kind of paraside. Malaria for example is still making off with lots of humans, and there's not a whole lot we can do about it. That said, humans eradicated Malaria from entire hemispheres and an on going research effort points to how 'we need something else to do it for us', so, yeah, brains beat teeth.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Cathy » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:50 am UTC

doogly wrote:Yeah, in order to be classed as a sentient, be allowed to vote, etc, I require the Turing Test. In order to be classed as human, you might need 51% organic composition, something like that. Bicentennial Man should have that no problem.


What about a person with two artificial legs and two artificial arms and an artificial heart and other artificial organs?

I really enjoyed the philosophical thoughts of Bicentennial man, because as I kept drawing lines for what "human" was, and the short story just kept passing them by. And I agreed as it passed them by.

I still struggle to find any "line." I'd require a brain-feature that had creativity and unpredictability and other characteristics that we consider "human."
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby doogly » Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:00 am UTC

Cathy wrote:
doogly wrote:Yeah, in order to be classed as a sentient, be allowed to vote, etc, I require the Turing Test. In order to be classed as human, you might need 51% organic composition, something like that. Bicentennial Man should have that no problem.


What about a person with two artificial legs and two artificial arms and an artificial heart and other artificial organs?


Cyborg. It's pretty much better than human.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby elasto » Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:18 am UTC

doogly wrote:Cyborg. It's pretty much better than human.
Yeah. I was reading through the thread waiting to see if someone would make this point.

The question of the title is going to be rendered moot. Robots will never be human. Instead, humans and robots are going to co-evolve into a single creature whereby a question of 'is this thing human? Is this thing robot?' is going to be largely nonsensical: For it will be both - and neither.

But, yes, if a being started off as fully mechanical, and slowly replaced all its parts by squishy carbon-based bits, it could and should be defined as now being human. If it falls short, though, it's not human, merely a cyborg. Which is no bad thing because humans will go the other way and end up in the same place.
Last edited by elasto on Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:21 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby doogly » Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:20 am UTC

Well, not quite. I've played some Shadowrun, so I know how this goes. Some people choose to remain 100% human in order to use magic better.
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Re: Can Robots be Human? (or The Bicentennial Man's Question

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:20 am UTC

elasto wrote:The question of the title is going to be rendered moot. Robots will never be human. Instead, humans and robots are going to co-evolve into a single creature whereby a question of 'is this thing human? Is this thing robot?' is going to be largely nonsensical: For it will be both - and neither.

Only for sufficiently short sited definitions of 'human' and 'robot'.
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