Soon there will be more and more robots as technology advances, and the focus of VC funding moves toward robotics and AI. But how should we treat these creatures? We know they can’t think or feel (yet). Humans have such a strong desire to anthropomorphize objects, that it’s going to be very difficult to not treat them as pets, children, or even companions.
And how we treat them tells us more about ourselves than about robots. It tells us something about empathy and what it means to be human, how we choose to treat something with no power when we have all the power.
Robots will learn from you; this next wave of machines coming are not just dumb terminals designed for data input, but will be learning how to act in society based on what they see and hear in the real world. What you say and the way you act will be reflected back to you, as machines learn how to act according to your behavior. How will you feel when you own irritation, anger, or spite is reflected back? Will it make you feel proud or embarrassed?
Hint: anyone with children knows the answer already.