TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Robots Will Get Same Rights as Humans

Re: Robots Will Get Same Rights as Humans

Rick Merrill (
Thu, 25 Jan 2007 17:15:47 -0500 wrote:

> Sharon Gaudin wrote:

>> A report out of the U.K. contends that in about 50 years, robots will
>> be given the same rights as humans and even will be expected to vote
>> and pay taxes.

> Go back 50 years and look at some of the absurb stuff predicted about
> computers (then known as "electronic brains") then never came to pass
> nor ever will.

The Market Place is hard to predict.

> We have learned that while it is easy for computers to automate
> repetitive mundane tasks (like doing the payroll), it is far, far
> harder to automate subtle human thinking processes. For example,
> companies that use voice recognition to drive automated response
> systems are flooded with consumer complaints.

And so are the ones using "actual " humans!-)

> Computers can assist but cannot replace human abstract analytical
> observation, thinking, and decision making.

Sez you!

> Computers are ALWAYS locked into the pre-programmed selection; if an
> observation or decision is not on the pre-existing list, the
> computer simply can not and will not deal with it.

Not true: first of all No One knows what the computer will do in many
cases simply because so many people programmed it.

Second, AI is designed not to 'know' the answer but to search for it,
sometimes by trial and error.

> A human is required to handle them. When a business automates any
> process, it will be ok as long as it has a qualified human on
> standby for those unexpected unusual situations. The problem is
> today companies are so intent on cost-cutting they leave out the
> people.

> Thus, when I had to call an out of state Blue Cross agency I had
> trouble getting through since I was neither their subscriber or
> provider; the only two choices on the menu. It didn't occur to the
> programmer to accomodate reciprocal agreements with out of state
> agencies. (And people wonder why I'm a Luddite).

> What's funny about predicting future technology is that predictions
> not only mess up on what technology can do, they also miss
> technologies that do occur.

> I doubt in 1967 anyone would've predicted consumers would use Star
> Trek's computer diskettes or telephones only 25 years later, for
> example, and definitely not dirt cheap. They did predict widespread
> computer use, but via simple terminals (a la Touch Tone phone) to
> big central computers, not powerful individual computers. I don't
> think anyone predicted telephone long distance "too cheap to meter"
> like we have today. They expected a drop in cost but not so
> radical.

Good point.

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