Here is a fascinating short segment from Nova on robots and their possible roles in the future. It brings up some good ethical questions. My favorite portions of the video are the sections that show an android version of the famous Sci-Fi author Philip K. Dick. His prolific writings brought us the movies ‘Minority Report,’ and ‘Blade Runner.’
The android Philip K. Dick is still in early stages of development, but still remarkable. It uses facial recognition algorithms and can learn to recognize individuals in a group setting. As the video suggests, it doesn’t take a lot to fool us into thinking ‘someone’ is there, when in fact there’s nobody home!
“I have, in some of my stories and novels, written about androids or robots or simulacra – the name doesn’t matter; what is meant is artificial constructs masquerading as humans. Usually with a sinister purpose in mind. I suppose I took it for granted that if such a construct, a robot, for example, had a benign or anyhow decent purpose in mind, it would not need to so disguise itself. The constructs do not mimic humans; they are, in many deep ways, actually human already.”
-Dick, Philip K. “The Android and the Human”. 1972.