Category Archives: humans

Prudishness

Okay, I kind of meandered away from what I really wanted to talk about in my last post.  The thing that really and truly and honestly bothers me when I’m watching Humans on AMC is the sexual prudishness.

Let me start by saying, once you install an artificial intelligence into a machine, yes, that thing should have rights, it should be treated with respect, that’s a given.

But here’s the thing: in the show, the vast majority of humanity believes, and rightly so, that the synths are just machines.  As such, there is no reason to afford them any kind of respect.  So when somebody who owns a sex sets it on ‘adult mode,’ I fail to see how that is any different than using a sex toy.

Similarly, when a bunch of idiots get together and smash synths, as long as they own the synths, it shouldn’t be illegal.  That being said, I think that getting together to break and destroy things that look like people might be a good indicator of a mental problem, and I will agree that children using synths in a sexual way is inappropriate and should not be allowed.

My problem is basically that the tone the show seems to take is that people are abusing these poor synths, when in point of fact, this is only the case when they are interacting with one of the synths who happens to be aware, and as those synths are in hiding, it’s hard to get too mad at people for that.

Similarly, I recall the scene in the robot brothel where the guy wants Niska to act afraid of him, he wants to abuse her.  Again, there is little doubt that the man has issues, but let’s face it, I’d rather him going to brothels inhabited by non-human, non-feeling entities to get off than taking his fantasies into the real world.  Admittedly, it might be part of a progression on his part, he might be a few days away from moving out into the real world for a bigger thrill, but that’s not the point right now.  The point is that giving rights and whatnot to an AI because it is intelligent, capable of feeling, capable of learning, etc, is a VERY DIFFERENT THING than giving rights to a machine because it happens to look like us.  that’s what’s driving me nuts.

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Annoyed by a theme

I’ve been watching the AMC series Humans, and, for the most part, I’m enjoying it a great deal.  There are a few things that I wish that they would do differently, and a few things which see to come up quite often in this genre that kind of annoy me.

So one of the big things that seems to come up in stories like these is that the creation of things that look convincingly human is associated with the creation of things that are essentially self aware.  This bothers me for a number of reasons, the most pressing of which is that the two are completely unrelated.  I understand that this is something being explored in the series in question.  But what bothers me is how common this is.  Somebody makes a lifelike machine, which acts like people do, and suddenly it starts thinking for itself.  It’s like people think that behavior precedes reason, and once it matches its behavior to us, inevitably its mind will start to be shaped by that.

I also am frustrated by the fact that in so many of these stories, once they start to think for themselves and reason for themselves, they become so very much like us.  It’s true, in trying to create an artificial consciousness we will inevitably base its reasoning patterns on our own, but given the fact that it is, on a fundamental level, not the same as us, I think it’s also inevitable that it would not function the same way we do.  Getting angry about the same things that would anger us if we experienced them, and viewing our behavior by the same standards that we use is, I think fundamentally flawed.

I guess what I’m saying is that, someday, I want to write a story where artificial humans are created but have absolutely nothing in their programming which makes them more than utilities, while vast and powerful artificial intelligences are running the world based on guidelines and reasoning that is so foreign to us as to be virtually incomprehensible.  Chances are good that somebody has already written that book, but I haven’t read it yet.