Posted in posthuman by andytoad on June 25, 2010

photo: Stuart Isett for The New York Times

Eric Horvitz’s receptionist at Microsoft is a computer that can interact with visitors outside his office in Redmond, Wash.

An article in the New York Times yesterday set my brain off on the post-human tangent again….

There is still much to be done before a man-made device can understand the world, itself, and others in it. (It can be argued that humans have yet to completely comprehend those things. Are we getting ahead of ourselves?) If we can teach “one” to learn, to see, to understand will “one” eventually feel? What does that even mean? In regards to artificial intelligence, what is nature and what is nurture? What is alive? What is life?  Maybe it all comes down to context.

Times article:   Computers Make Strides in Recognizing Speech


More along the robotics side of AI:


I enjoy that Honda named their creation Asimo, “the word’s most advanced humanoid robot”, after Isaac Asimov. Asimov, kind of the grandfather of artificial intelligence and robot themed science fiction literature, came up with a set of rules which robots must obey.  Asimov’s Laws of Robotics:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Laws are nice ideas. But things are always changing (maybe too fast.) And then there is entropy. As the human occupation of the planet, “acts of god”, and pop culture entertainment have all illustrated for us – life finds a way.

In closing – Is it just as funny to watch a robot fall down a set of stairs as it is a human?