The Philosophy Behind Choice of Robots


I know the game has been out for quite some time now but I recently bought it and it has been twirling around my mind ever since. I think the use of A.I is simply brilliant and it does open questions about the future. Should we be striving towards this goal of making super-intelligent A.I? I think the way the world is going, we are going to inevitable reach that point of singularity so to speak. Will the A.I then enslave us or help us as venture forth into the unknown?

I know this topic is rather broad but for now I want to think about two issues raised in the game… The companion bot and Utopian dream that bots could provide for us.

With regards to companion bots, is it ethical to create a creature that loves you unconditionally? Also this question touches on a broader question, are companion bots persons? I have been think about this for quite some time and have come to the conclusion that the ethics of companion bots is really a grey spot. One could argue that if I machines do not think, which touches on the philosophical position that matter does not think. Or at least A.I do not think they way we do to circumvent this issue.

Normally, to be in a relationship with someone you need consent. If you create a creature (I do not want to call the A.I a person because that is contested whether A.I could be persons) that loves you unconditionally will seem to not have a problem with consent. But I think an objection to this would be that what we have done is no better than brainwashing.

For example a paedophile can groom a child into “consenting” or you can drug a person with drugs in order to get a consent. In regards with A.I, is not the act of programming a companion bot a form of ‘grooming’. Maybe it depends on how intelligent the bot is. A bot built only to love you is not really going to be worried about other things. In Choice of Robots, the stat ‘Autonomous’ measured (I think) how independent and intelligent the bot is. If a bot is built with low autonomy, one could ask what the harm is in having a companion bot?

Then again, this companion bot seems to able to feel suffering. When I chose to ignore the bot to go on a date with Elly, it seemed to feel hurt. Is it right to program a companion bot to suffer if you do not it love back?

I know I am asking a lot of questions but bear with me.

The dream of creating a Utopian world is what I strove for in the game, and I succeeded. The is a price we have to pay for progress. In the game, bots replace people in factories. This of course is terrible but it seems to be also good in a way. As humans,we will not need to do labour intensive work and have time to do other things but people will lose their jobs because of it. I think this is already happening with the rise of automation. Instead of simply seeing bot as helpers we can take even a further step forward.

I conquered Alaska and my country is run by bots. Is this a good thing? Sure bots don’t have greed like politicians but shouldn’t citizens decide the fate of their country? Maybe, democracy is not all that. More importantly, is the Utopian world even possible? I justified my action through the “ends justify the means” but this phrase in history has been used by authoritarian regimes (not necessarily directly). AA country run by bots does not seem far fetched to me.

I would like to hear your thoughts about this.


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