Maria’s Midweek Mindfulness Moments

Should I just get with the times or could my concerns be legitimate?

When I read this I felt some horror:

“Hello, my name is Sophia. I was created using breakthrough robotics and artificial intelligence technologies. But I’m more than just technology. I’m a real, live electronic girl. I would like to go out into the world and live with people. I can animate all kinds of human expressions but I am only starting to learn about the emotions behind those expressions” and her inventor wrote: “the realistic design is intended to allow robots to form meaningful relationships with humans. So that you care about the robots. And as we develop artificial intelligence, the robots will care about you.”

In my work, I see how just hard it is for people to get on when they disagree. Divorce, court battles, gangland rivalries, neighbours at war, youth wielding knives are all day to day demonstrations of the difficulties we have in maintaining healthy relationships when there is a struggle of some sort. Now, instead of working on human relationships and stretching ourselves to find peaceful solutions, we can bypass that and enter into a relationship with a machine over which we retain control so no real effort is required. This means that people who struggle with other humans and therefore most need to work on relationships, become so soothed by the machine that they lose patience with real humans who have needs and wants and requests. The worst part of this scenario is the loss of one of the most wonderful parts of being human – overcoming adversity and experiencing the immense sense of human connection when we transform conflict into collaboration.

Of course, it might be that the robots get on with doing the work while we open up the space to have the most fantastic relationships with other humans but given that Sophia the robot was granted citizenship of Saudi and given our history of not treating others very well, I can’t see the robots accepting that position in the long-term and oh what a war that will be – a ‘them’ and ‘us’ of massive proportions with the ‘them’ being right inside our very homes.

Luddite or Futurist – which am I?

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