Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Power to Give - yet Not to Be?

An argument defending the claim of “robotic life”

Cannot the machines that give us “life” be themselves alive? Let’s look at a short story to demonstrate this underlying principle:

A man goes to a powerful wizard whom he finds on a rooftop, legs crossed, levitating a few feet up. The man pleas to the great wizard to grant him too the power to levitate, of which the great wizard accepts and grants the man the power to levitate.

Another man then comes up and asks for the same power to levitate, the great wizard turns and declares that he himself does not possess the power to levitate, though he is doing so as he speaks the words! How puzzled the man would be.

This is what we are doing when we say that a robot cannot be alive, when it is the very robot that keeps us ourselves alive. How can one entity give something that it itself does not possess? This is not saying that we should consider all machines that give life to be alive, but merely to entertain the fact that it is not so farfetched for us to one day accept the fact that machines can themselves be alive – as they have been keeping us for so many years.

Since life is an attribute, a mere idea given to an entity on Earth, we should not be so selfish with the idea, keeping it all to ourselves and our biological ancestors. We should be humble towards those robots that keep our human race in possession of the treasure called life, since it is they who give it to us. Should we not also allow them to partake in the treasure they help us maintain? – Namely, the attribute of life.

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