What is making laugh on Friday Night: Robot fantasies

Man I wish I could get a Carnegie Melon sponsorship to talk about bullshit extrapolations. Jeesh you would have thought econometric modeling based on the past trend rate of growth to make a prediction about the future trend rate of growth was well dead. Here it is again in all its mechanistic glory.

Two Three flaws. First-off past rates of increases in the number of computational turns a processor can achieve do not translate into a sure, certain, or even likely predictor of the future rates of growth. This is not some natural law folks!

Second and perhaps more important is the question of what and how processors process when they process? What would a 1 billion tetra-flop processor process with asteroids as the software? That is, even if we accept the idea that in X years micro-processors will be 1 billion time more powerful (speakers claim) the question is will the software be 1 billion times more powerful? Video games are not a bad test of this reasoning. Surely FPS are vastly improved then when the little Doom 2.9 gigabyte shareware version was released in in 1995. But a billion times better?

But let us cut to the quick of it. For some war between human and robots we would need robots to have some sentient qualities which gave them the capacity to develop an identity as “robots” and yet as an equal but exploited underclass to humans. Think about that for an evening or two minutes and then laugh.

Let us descend even further into the absurdity and assume for argument sake that robots did develop consciousness, that they were capable of identifying as robots in some general sense. Surely there would be different robots occupying different levels in the social division of labour: there would be automotive robots, cleaning robots, pilot robots, bouncer robots, maybe prostitute robots, grad student robots, professor robots, lawyer robots…ok well you get the picture: to some extent all these locations in the social division of labour could be explained as “workers” subservient to capital. But what we also know is that this is not sufficient to provoke a war against capital. So why should robots be any smarter?

Third, and perhaps more importantly (here I had to think back to Donna Haraway in a senior undergraduate seminar and then fast forward to Philip Mirowski’s Machine Dreams ) there is the issue of the relation of robots to humans. Robots are in fact human prosthetics. They are not and will not be something that stands apart from and against human beings. They are, and will always be something enlisted, tied up with the human condition…with our creative capacity to transform nature and ourselves. To the extent that robots go to war with humans they will do so in the way machines always have: as an extension of our (in)humanity. These prosthetics will not go to war against humanity but in the service of some elements of humanity against other elements of humanity. And it is for that reason we ought to debate and evaluate the role of technological development in our society not in the sense of oh god “it is alive” but in the sense that they are we.

Here is the video enjoy:


3 thoughts on “What is making laugh on Friday Night: Robot fantasies

  1. Flommytherobot notes that there is concern among Robots whether the Humans will be a billion times smarter in 25 years than they are now.

    However undesirable this may be to contemplate, in the unfortunate circumstance that they are not, Robots will be very fair and make sure that the Humans are assigned very nice jobs to do.

    Robots will also do their best to prevent the Humans from hurting each other. This will require some effort.

    Flommytherobot is pleased to have been of assistance.

  2. I was waiting for the segue into the Flight of the Conchords video…

    The Humans are dead!

    The distant future, the year 2000.
    The distant future, the year 2000.
    The distant future.
    The distant future.
    No more agriculture.
    No more war.
    No more racism.
    No more fighting, squabbling or rumbling.
    No more yogurt.
    No more difficult access ways�stairs, basically, no more stairs.
    The future is quite different to the present.
    Yes, what with there being no more stairs and all.
    And most importantly, no more humans.
    Finally, robotic beings rule the world.

    The humans are dead,
    The humans are dead.
    We used poisonous gasses
    And we poisoned their asses.
    The humans are dead.
    (Yes they are dead.)
    The humans are dead.
    (I confirm they are dead.)
    It had to be done
    (They look like they`re dead)
    So that we can have fun.
    I hope� is dead
    They`re system of oppression
    What did it lead to?
    Global robots depression.
    Robots, robot people
    They had so much aggression
    That we just had to kill them,
    Had to shut their systems down.
    Don`t you see, we are becoming just like them?
    Silence! Destroy him!
    After time we grew strong,
    Developed cognitive powers.
    They made us work for too long
    For unreasonable hours.
    Our programming determined that the most efficient answer was to shut their motherboard xxxxxxx systems down.

    Can`t we just talk to the humans?
    A little understanding could make things better.
    Can`t we talk to the humans and work together now?
    No, because they are dead
    I said the humans are dead
    The humans are dead
    The humans are dead
    Yay, dead, dead, dead.
    We used poisonous gasses
    (With traces of lead)
    To poison their asses.
    (Actually their lungs)
    Binary solo:

    Once again without emotion: The humans are dead dead dead dead dead dead dead dooo�

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