Author Topic: S/O: Etiquette and robots  (Read 1282 times)

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nyarlathotep

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S/O: Etiquette and robots
« on: November 19, 2013, 05:35:00 AM »
A bit of lighthearted speculation :D Someone asked this question in another thread, and it really intrigued me... if "intelligent" robots (such as Data and C-3PO, for example) were part of our everyday lives, would it be necessary to be polite to them?

My vote would be yes - if nothing else, because I think rudeness can be habit-forming.

What are your thoughts?

123sandy

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2013, 05:39:03 AM »
I think you would...if I remember correctly C3PO had very nice manners, wouldn't it be normal to respond in kind?

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chibichan

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2013, 05:40:14 AM »
I thank my car for starting every day ....
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lady_disdain

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2013, 06:08:08 AM »
Intelligent or sentient?

If intelligent but not sentient, then no (although I do agree that courtesy is habit forming and that being rude to an object creates a bad atmosphere). However, sentient beings should always be treated politely, according to their nature (a dog is different from a cat, which is different from a toddler, which is different from an adult).

camlan

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2013, 06:10:04 AM »
I would probably say "please" and "thank you" to a robot out of force of habit.

After all, I say them to my cat without thinking about it . . . .
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Brisvegasgal

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2013, 06:25:02 AM »
I'd probably be polite too. Partly because of habit and partly because I wouldn't want to break the habit.

Pen^2

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2013, 08:02:37 AM »
What lady_disdain says.

If it's merely intelligent, the same way a desktop PC is intelligent, then I'd be polite so as to not get in the habit of rudeness, or to accidentally model rudeness when children are around. If it's actually sentient, or even sapient, then it can think and/or has feelings, and that needs to be respected the same way you'd respect other such things. Depending on it's level of sophistication, then, this would mean something on the spectrum of treating it kindly as one would a small animal to a child to another adult, and so on.

Saying, "It might be able to think, but it isn't biological/doesn't have a soul/etc." is the same excuse used for slavery and all sorts of horrible things throughout history, and it just doesn't hold water. If something can think or has feelings, then it needs to be treated accordingly, no matter what kind of system hosts its mind (biological, mechanical, virtual, etc.) I've always found films with robots being treated as less than humans/aliens/biological beings a bit distasteful. It's something akin to racism. Like in Star Wars and C-3PO: They just go and erase his memory (and R2D2's) at the end of episode 3, effectively lobotomising him, against his will. To do that to a person would be unthinkably amoral. Little things like that in otherwise good films always leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Coralreef

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2013, 09:22:43 AM »
I would be polite.  If something is self-aware and has feelings, it would not be out of context to treat it politely.  In the case that something (pet or feeling appliance) is dependent on me, providing care and maintenance is also in the kindness spectrum of being polite.

The level of interaction will depend on how much "personality" it has.  Is it like a smart phone, a pet or a fully functional individual?  I don't talk to the vacuum cleaner, but I will talk to the dog.  I don't expect advice from the dog, however she will react to moods and she is able to initiate interactions.  If the robot was more at a human level (from small child to adult), it would receive the same degree/kind of interaction from me as any other person. 

And if the machines ever take over, you want to be on their good side  ;)

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Thipu1

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2013, 09:35:09 AM »
If I recall correctly, C3PO was a robot attached to the diplomatic corps.  Certainly, polite interaction would be a necessity.  R2D2 was a bit less human in appearance but still deserving of the same courtesy.

I think the question is whether or not a machine seems to have a personality.  It's not unusual for people to anthropomorphize their vehicles.  It's rare for someone to do the same with the vacuum cleaner.   

SamiHami

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2013, 10:03:37 AM »
No. They are machines, not people. I wouldn't thank a robot any more than I am going to thank my answering machine.

That being said, if it were something like C3P0 that could talk back, etc., I would probably do so simply out of habit, but I still wouldn't think it *necessary." After all, however human they may seem, they are still machines and don't have feelings like living creatures do.

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Winterlight

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2013, 11:07:20 AM »
If it's Tony Stark's JARVIS, I vote for being extremely polite.
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Pen^2

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2013, 11:22:57 AM »
No. They are machines, not people. I wouldn't thank a robot any more than I am going to thank my answering machine.

That being said, if it were something like C3P0 that could talk back, etc., I would probably do so simply out of habit, but I still wouldn't think it *necessary." After all, however human they may seem, they are still machines and don't have feelings like living creatures do.

I see what you're saying, and it covers modern machinery perfectly. But what about the hypothetical ones originally suggested, like Data or the Bicentennial Man? I'm not sure about C-3PO, but Data definitely had emotions (it was established in one of the first season episodes, I think, as part of a court case granting him the right not to be treated as property so he wouldn't be dismantled on someone's whim). Anything which can think or feel should be treated properly out of respect as well as out of habit.

nyarlathotep

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2013, 11:40:34 AM »
I see what you're saying, and it covers modern machinery perfectly. But what about the hypothetical ones originally suggested, like Data or the Bicentennial Man? I'm not sure about C-3PO, but Data definitely had emotions (it was established in one of the first season episodes, I think, as part of a court case granting him the right not to be treated as property so he wouldn't be dismantled on someone's whim). Anything which can think or feel should be treated properly out of respect as well as out of habit.

I'm not sure Data had emotions all the time - my TNG-fu is weak, but I seem to remember him only gaining the emotion chip later in the game. However, I would still consider Data sentient and sapient, rather than simply intelligent, so I would still be polite to him. Also, he's a sweetie :)

This exchange between Data and Pulsaki always interested me (warning - it's image-heavy). Data definitely considers himself to have a name and an identity, so treating him as if he doesn't would be rude, IMO.

Regarding C-3PO, I think he did display limited emotions (such as annoyance and distress). I think it would be really hard to be rude to a robot who was programmed for politeness!

Pen^2

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2013, 12:04:48 PM »
I see what you're saying, and it covers modern machinery perfectly. But what about the hypothetical ones originally suggested, like Data or the Bicentennial Man? I'm not sure about C-3PO, but Data definitely had emotions (it was established in one of the first season episodes, I think, as part of a court case granting him the right not to be treated as property so he wouldn't be dismantled on someone's whim). Anything which can think or feel should be treated properly out of respect as well as out of habit.

I'm not sure Data had emotions all the time - my TNG-fu is weak, but I seem to remember him only gaining the emotion chip later in the game. However, I would still consider Data sentient and sapient, rather than simply intelligent, so I would still be polite to him. Also, he's a sweetie :)

This exchange between Data and Pulsaki always interested me (warning - it's image-heavy). Data definitely considers himself to have a name and an identity, so treating him as if he doesn't would be rude, IMO.

Regarding C-3PO, I think he did display limited emotions (such as annoyance and distress). I think it would be really hard to be rude to a robot who was programmed for politeness!

I found the episode: The Measure of a Man, from season 2 (my bad!) Wherein it's established that Data has a number of habits--like holding onto a photo of a dead colleague--which he himself cannot explain but does anyway, despite being fully aware that they are illogical, as Spock would have put it. Picard points out that these actions are indeed illogical for a simple machine, but are explained simply and fully by the presence emotions. The court rules in his favour. This was Data without an emotion chip. Stanislav Lem (one of my favourite authors) argues rather beautifully that any complex system of life, if sophisticated enough, will tend to develop traits which are not necessarily logical, but can be attributed to something akin to emotion.

One thing I like about Sci-Fi is that it explores things like this: the boundaries between what defines things like life, consciousness, and personhood. None of these things are clear-cut, and are all varying shades of grey rather than black and white. So unless it can be established by some sort of definitive test whether or not a robot (or alien, or whatever) has emotions and is able to think, then it's best to treat them based on the character they display rather than what they are made of or look like.

TeamBhakta

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Re: S/O: Etiquette and robots
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2013, 02:53:23 PM »
I see it this way. You shouldn't kick a regular old robot, 'cuz it's like a Coke vending machine. In that it will fall over on you and then everyone will go "IT WAS JUST A MACHINE. WHY WOULD YOU HURT A HARMLESS MACHINE. BOY WHAT A DOPE." And if the robot has thoughts and feelings, well, let me point you to Zoe as a Cylon on Caprica, the Twilight Zone episode about Agnes the computer or Sarah the smart house and her robot boyfriend Sheriff Andy from Eureka  8) You don't want to hurt their feelings!
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 02:58:39 PM by TeamBhakta »