Guest blogger Gary Starta on sentient machines.
My inspiration to write the novel, Gods of the Machines, basically comes down to one word of inspiration: sentient. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines sentient as “feeling or sensation as distinguished from perception or thought.” The ability to feel defines our consciousness as humans. It is what distinguishes us from other devices capable of thought or calculation, i.e. computers. And although that line of separation, the inability of your laptop to feel emotion, is pretty thick at the moment, there may come a time when that line will either be blurred or crossed. Maybe you are skeptical that robots or perhaps, androids – beings that resemble humans – will ever exist in the way we see them in movies such as I, Robot. But there are signs that technology is advancing and that robotics is becoming more and more integrated into our everyday life.
The latest cutting-edge cell phone operating system is called Android (Droid for short). Although a phone is a long way from a walking, talking android, it seems to show the very idea of such technology is seeping into the consumer consciousness. In Japan, actual android/robots have been created! They have skin made of silicon, and sensors allow them to react. They appear to blink and even breathe! But what they don’t possess is sentience. And because they don’t, I believe these creations will be ripe for exploitation. Robots are already in use in battlefields. Androids such as the life-like creations in Japan may be used for servitude as well, perhaps as nursing aides.
Gary's comments will continue on Dec 2, including the premise of Gods of the Machines.