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Sunday
Feb052012

Cultural consensus worth protecting: robots are cool!

Just a couple of yrs ago there was concern that artificial intelligence & robotics might become the next front for the "culture war of fact" in US.

Well, good news: Everyone loves robots! Liberals & conservatives, men & women (the latter apparently not as much, though), rich & poor, dogs & cats!

We all know that the Japanese feel this way, but now some hard evidence -- a very rigorous poll conducted by Sodahead on-line research -- that there is a universal warm and fuzzy feeling toward robots in the US too.

This is, of course, in marked contrast to the cultural polarization we see in our society over climate change, and is thus a phenomenon worthy of intense study by scholars of risk perception.

But the contrast is not merely of academic interest: the reservoir of affection for robots is a kind of national resource -- an insurance policy in case the deep political divisions over climate change persist.

If they do, then of course we will likely all die, either from the failure to stave off climate-change induced environmental catastrophe or from some unconsidered and perverse policy response to try to stave off catastrophe.

And at that point, it will be up to the artificially intelligent robots to carry on.

You might think this is a made up issue. It's not. Even now, there are misguided people trying to sow the seeds of division on AI & robots, for what perverse, evil reason one can only try to imagine.

We have learned a lot about science communication from the climate change debacle. Whether we'll be able to use it to cure the science-communication pathology afflicting deliberations over climate change is an open question.  But we can and should at least apply all the knowledge that studying this impasse has generated to avoid the spread of this disease to future science-and-technology issues. 

And I for one can't think of an emerging technology more important to insulate from this form of destructive and mindless fate than artificial intelligence & robotics!

******

 

disclaimer: I love robots!! So much!!!
Maybe that is unconsciously skewing my assessment of the issues here (I doubt it, but I did want to mention).

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Reader Comments (3)

This post was obviously written by Li'l Hal. You guys aren't even close to ready for your team Turing test.

February 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMW

Also, while everyone feels positive, there are differences in enthusiasm: the differences between liberals and conservatives on "wonderful" and "worrisome" are (percentage point-wise) as large as the difference between hierarchs and egalitarians on "Dave should be found guilty of rape." Don't know what, if anything, to make of that...

February 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMW

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