Humanoid robots as “The Cultural Other”: are we able to love our creations? [Book Review]

AI and Society 28 (3):309-318 (2013)
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Abstract

Robot enthusiasts envision robots will become a “race unto themselves” as they cohabit with the humankind one day. Profound questions arise surrounding one of the major areas of research in the contemporary world—that concerning artificial intelligence. Fascination and anxiety that androids impose upon us hinges on how we come to conceive of the “Cultural Other.” Applying the notion of the “other” in multicultural research process, we will explore how the “Other” has been used to illustrate values and theories about robots, as a mirror for the self. In this paper, we focus on the social, cultural, and religious implications of humans’ attitudes toward relationships between humans with robots. Six major views on humanoid robots are proposed: (1) robots as the “Frightening Other,” (2) robots as the “Subhuman Other,” (3) robots as the “Human Substitute,” (4) robots as the “Sentient Other,” (5) robots as the “Divine Other,” and (6) robots as the “Co-evolutionary Path to Immortality.” The likely and preferable scenario is the last one, which is compatible with an optimistic posthuman world in our evolutionary future. We imagine whether humans will meet the challenge of loving all living and non-living beings (including mechanical entities) might be the key to the co-evolution of both species and the ultimate happiness

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