Thursday, February 15, 2007

Computers should feel pain

By simply altering a label on a huge set of computer files at my job, I have "broken the link" to all of them and set myself up for a huge project to recreate said links.

Computers are so unforgiving.

We've had them around, what, 50 years now and it amazes me that some genius hasn't found a way to make them suffer pain, or at least guilt, for the misery they cause.

Or, if that seems too unethical, at least they could have the capability to warn idiots like me, "You really, really don't want to push that button." As of now, all they seem able to do is secondguess your desire to delete stuff.

4 comments:

Perhaps you won't understand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lance said...

Perhaps they do feel pain...
I'd like to think so, anyway :)

I know your post was meant jokingly, but I'm gonna do what I always do and extend it with a boring, more serious question..

If you peered inside the human brain and watched electrical pulses and other things zooming around, there'd be nothing there to convince you that humans actually feel pain. So why are we convinced that they actually do?

Because we hear them talking about it, I guess. We see their facial expressions and reactions to what we say and stuff and we assume that these mean there is a corresponding feeling of pain in their brain.

If a robot says that they are in pain, it is not impossible that it is. After all, we are machines and we feel pain.

Different organisms do different things to show they're in pain. Cats do certain things, elephants another, whales another. So what do you think a non-human metal machine would have to do to convince us that it was in pain? When would we give it rights?

Perhaps you won't understand said...

Perhaps they do feel pain...
I'd like to think so, anyway :)

I know your post was meant jokingly, but I'm gonna do what I always do and extend it with a boring, more serious question..

If you peered inside the human brain and watched electrical pulses and other things zooming around, there'd be nothing there to convince you that humans actually feel pain. So why are we convinced that they actually do?

Because we hear them talking about it, I guess. We see their facial expressions and reactions to what we say and stuff and we assume that these mean there is a corresponding feeling of pain in their brain.

If a robot says that they are in pain, it is not impossible that it is. After all, we are machines and we feel pain.

Different organisms do different things to show they're in pain. Cats do certain things, elephants another, whales another. So what do you think a non-human metal machine would have to do to convince us that it was in pain? When would we give it rights?

Eastcoastdweller said...

Ooh, that is way too profound for a Monday morning.

My only response is that biological pain results from certain stimuli acting upon nerves --heat,pressure, etc.

But there is an uncanny connection. When I whack the keys on this keyboard, electrical impulses are shot off to the hard drive of this machine. When someone taps on me, electrical impulses are shot off to my keyboard.

Aargh, this is too much to think about too early in the morning.