Admiration is Most Genuine…

There is an old saying:

Admiration is the most genuine form of mimicry

I find frequently that other blogs I read will publish very similar content as my own on very odd topics. I think either great minds think alike, or we’re all caught in the great tide of the media cycle, or you copied my idea, or I copied yours. It doesn’t matter the causal relation of who thought or said what because of what.
The topics discussed on this blog are addressed far from comprehensive and satisfying. In the great ocean of bits of human thoughts and desires, this blog is essentially a big fat zero.

I hope everyone who needs it can benefit from this blog and gain new tinder that spark thoughts in your minds that will burn long and bright. I comfort you in the knowledge that I too shall seek you out when I have lost the prime for my mind-well.

What happens in a dark room?

I’ve now seen two pediatrician, not our primary doctor, perform a “special move” on my baby by first demanding to turn lights off, and then making the baby cry. I secretly wonder if they shook my baby while all lights are off. What the heck else could they possibly be doing? One took the baby into the bathroom, the other one just shut the lights in a tiny examination room.

It’s really hard to tell what people do in the cover of darkness. Sometimes I do not even trust the baby’s own mother… that hard stomp on the floor did that reverberate through the baby’s brain too?

And God knows what their grandmas and grandpas has done to them…

So fragile they seem, so tired we seem, so easy injury seem!
How do human babies survive?

The process of trust

Whom do we trust? What do we trust? Perhaps this is one best way to understand or explain our fear of robots.
There are some almost axiomatic principles that we, as individuals or as collection of individuals, choose to believe in: That all men are created equal for example, or that omnipotence means also having power to be purely evil, or that google doc is most secure way to write and track history, or that my own reasoning power is the only thing I trust, or that open source participation by entire humanity is the only knowledge base and thinking process that I trust, or that The Book is the only wisdom I believe in, etc. There will also be declaration of allegiance: In God we trust! Etc.

The problem with robots is that we do not trust them. The implementation process may be buggy–who can raise their hand and say they’ve never deployed a bug to production? The design could be flawed. Just look at humans! Evolution creates flaws too. The metal could bend and break. And most important of all, the actions of a robot cannot be summarized into simple and universally understandable axioms. Asimov’ three laws of robotics is one such an attempt to resolve the dissonance between fear and need for robotics. It may or may not be possible to have this in advance. In retrospect, after some millennium of work, we may know a set of rules but I do not see it as a solution to our fear of robots.

Another heuristic we have are processes. When we do not know of a near-constant time determiner of actions, we routinely use process to ensure results. Democracy is a process, it is a solution we came up with to solve a really hard organization problem. Registration for credit card is a process, another really hard problem with multiple parties taking actions each having disparate power and utilities. Application for admission to colleges. The doctor’s appointment… all of these are process that arriving at very simple outcomes: one leader chosen among 2 or dozen, credit granted or not, admitted or not, healthy or treatment.

One wonders if robotics will simply be enrolled in a process. Just as a child grows and earns the trust of her parents, peers and society, robots may need to go through the same process in order to be accepted into roles that adults human perform. It’s actually kind of like how the movies envisions it. After a while, the fearsome loathsome thing is gradually accepted by one, two, and more people.

There is still separation between systematic social acceptance, like legalizing self-driving cars, and personal acceptance–that I let it drive me. These are two different decisions that need to be made on a case by case basis. At least for now, until such a time when we have agreed upon our version of laws of robotics.