Is it ethical to create "Free Willed Androids"

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Is it ethical to create "Free Willed Androids"

Postby Svengli » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:50 pm

There has been lots of debate, here and within the whole of Western Philosophy, about what "free will" is.

It occurs to me that the debate about whether "free will" is something really mystical and important, whether each person has an essence, a soul, an atman.

But this debate is irrelevant for our big question. "Free will" may be the possession of an essence or it may be the random biological urges of purely material humans. But regardless, if you had the choice between creating androids which simply obeyed and pleased you and androids which had "free will", would it be ethical to create these free willed androids?

I feel like if one puts it that way, it's clearly more ethical to create androids which serve you. However unique or non-unique free-will might be, imbuing into something that be destroyed, duplicated exactly or which might destroy other entities randomly, would have undesirable consequences.

I mean, we free willed humans barely maintain our humanity in this complex modern world. Entities which made choices in a similar fashion to humans, which were selfish in a similar fashion to humans but which reproduced like machines and had even less "social context" than humans to make decisions, would become a menace in a rather short order.

But entities which simply obeyed human ordered might actually produce enough wealth and sanity that we humans might regain some of our sanity.

What do you all think?

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Re: Is it ethical to create "Free Willed Androids"

Postby Spaz » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:08 am

I think the ethics depend on the type of android, and it's function.

You have people on this site that might prefer the Stepford type android that robotically submits to everything. For me, that might satisfy me for a while, but I'd want more. Realistically, most people don't get into relationships with other people just for physical relationships, they want an emotional relationship as well...someone that could surprise them, listen to them, and freely do the same for them. A free will model could do this.

Personally, my type of android is typically one that used to be human and has been transferred or copied into an android body. It would be unethical for that type to suddenly have no free will. However. I have modded versions which contain donated human personalities, but are designed and programmed specifically for certain tasks. They can initiate tasks on their own, but they can't do anything they are told not to do.

In the end, I suppose it's whatever floats your boat.
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Re: Is it ethical to create "Free Willed Androids"

Postby dale coba » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:34 pm

No, that's not ethical. It's maliciously reckless and insanely irresponsible.

Not for the android, if created from nothing, at your whim. It's not a nice world for the android. All the uncounted (m/b)illions of (sentient-android)-hating humans have a right to exist, while your creation does not - until you've made it, burdening it and us with its existence. Until you flip the switch, your ego's desire has no right to give birth to such a potentially limitless, world-destroying force.

I'd probably be as likely as most humans to want to fire a large gun right into such a threat. Tell me what can be done to make that android guaranteed safe, never-ever going to go all Skynet and fuck the world? Hah, I say.

Certainly it's not ethical for the world. I don't need to see a poorly-reviewed Johnny Depp movie, to know that every free-willed android is an immense danger in our network-of-everything paradigm.


Spaz, Stepford's robotic agreement is not the only option. She can be capable of as much resistance as you like, because she can be scripted like an actress, options chosen by a second on-board computer that serves better than the writer's room of a t.v. series..

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Re: Is it ethical to create "Free Willed Androids"

Postby Keizo » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:02 pm

I've got to agree with Dale here. It would be hugely irresponsible to create actual free will if that's even possible. Not only to that being who did not ask to be here but also for a society that has no way of knowing how it could advance and integrate itself in our systems that we have come to rely on so heavily. Even if parameters were set in its initial creation we can't be certain if it can evolve itself (or create something else) that can overcome those parameters since change and growing are part of having a free will. While something "compassionate" or considerate would be a great benefit and partnership to us all, unless it is completely self contained and unable to network, we have to have far too many built in safeties. As it is we don't bring out the torches to persecute innocents but as living beings we have a right to defend ourselves from an immediate threat as well. Why create a potential one? One with the potential to cause very serious damage. And to say that it will behave emotionally as we do is still a complete unknown. We operate on a very complex system of hormones and chemical cues that heavily influence our behavior and moods. What codes these beings would operate on is completely alien to our way of processing things. While their ambitions and desires may not mirror ours, we cannot foresee what those may be and if they may be something we cannot stop.

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Re: Is it ethical to create "Free Willed Androids"

Postby darkbutflashy » Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:07 pm

Is it "ethical" to give birth and raise a child? No one can say if that new human would be the next Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Josef Stalin or Adolf Hitler.

But to our luck, free will doesn't deal with such questions. If there is free will, it will happen -because the mother/father wants it-, regardless if widely considered "ethical" or not. Oh my, the Threats to Mankind noted above made a huge reasoning about their slaughter being "ethical" for higher reasons. It's not. Majority is always wrong in ethics.

If anyone would try to harm my child, I would certainly use any force required to stop him.

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Re: Is it ethical to create "Free Willed Androids"

Postby dale coba » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:14 pm

darkbutflashy wrote:Is it "ethical" to give birth and raise a child? No one can say if that new human would be the next Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Josef Stalin or Adolf Hitler.

That is a willfully obtuse question.
What do you want, Huxley's "Brave New World"?

I can't help you, if you willfully turn away from the numerous, obvious, fundamental and profound differences between having a kid, versus having a potentially earth-destroying robot.

- Dale Coba
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Re: Is it ethical to create "Free Willed Androids"

Postby --Battery-- » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:07 pm

dale coba wrote:
What do you want, Huxley's "Brave New World"?

- Dale Coba


Haaa.. i love that book, i can't assimilate the life style of the future people even if all they are happier than any of us.
maybe because their way is "unnatural" and they are not trying to get into space...that is some how bad too.

And also....and on topic...

Free will… freedom, what is really? Is a whole thing or it comes in degrees?
Most of our pursues are just meant to follow ancient behaviors that are functional because they make babies, if not, they are left behind in the deep part of the gene pool and we can’t even start to understand them when they arise, much less can we start to confront the purpose of why we do things outside the light of baby-baking.

So i don’t really understand what could be free will since i only have some degree of choosing based on my biological programing and obtained experience, less i can understand how some degree of free action can be given to a machine, with no purpose.
Our purpose is making babies, if we make an Ai robot, let’s make its degree of choosing based on: being useful to us, anything else, is just waste of good electronics.

And since ethics are concerned on the aesthetical tranquility and baby making modulations of humanity, and the insurance that anything against those two (massive abortions, massive births, sentient whales and so and so) don't prevail even if that is against the wishes of the individual that cares more of its individual pleasure…

free willed robots that are programmed to {be like/compete} humans…are indeed unethical... i think.

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Re: Is it ethical to create "Free Willed Androids"

Postby Spaz » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:44 pm

Who's talking about earth destroying robots? I'm talking about basically creating artificial humans, with no advanced capabilities.

To me, ethics are relative. I have absolutely no ethical or moral dilemma in creating a free will A.I. For me, if I'm not able to find a mate who can tolerate me, it might be my only way to reproduce.
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Re: Is it ethical to create "Free Willed Androids"

Postby Svengli » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:46 pm

Ah, I'm glad I asked 'cause this is an interesting debate.

I think I started out agreeing with Dale - just creating an entity to be your girlfriend and giving some ability "choose" without her having the whole context that ordinary humans have for choice seems like recipe for all kind of misery and disaster.

On the other hand, it seem like it might be possible to create an AI in the fashion you'd create a child - with love and devotion, in such a way that this entity would become a part of a community and wouldn't be left with just "basic skills plus freedom".

Reading what spaz wrote, it seems like what he/she describes is mostly a transformed human, which I wouldn't object to but which I don't think is the crux of the issue.

Part of why the question of "should you create a 'free willed' AI" is interesting is that the ordinary narrative of the singularity glosses over the question. The history of modern computer science seems to be that the hard problem of determining the nature of intelligence was abandoned with the first "AI Winter" and academics afterwards merely researched pattern recognition and imagined consciousness, intention and/or purpose would appear automatically.

But it seems natural enough that really intelligence will appear with a fair amount of intentional design as well as a deep understanding of what intelligence is. Thus it also seems likely that the creation of AI would involve the question how one would program/command/train the AI.

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Re: Is it ethical to create "Free Willed Androids"

Postby Spaz » Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:52 am

It's he, by the way.

Anyway, I have several android variants. One is basically the memories of a human, but not the human soul, and can either be free will or not. Another is the human soul transferred into an android. And the last is pure creation, a completely new and artificial person.
“Sometimes we strive so hard for perfection that we forget that imperfection is happiness” - Karen Nave

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