I was listening to an episode of "This American Life" this afternoon during my workout and it hit really close to home when the story of a police detonation robot came on. It got me thinking about my life and frustrations with myself.
Here's a link to the story: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/603/once-more-with-feeling?act=3
As a cyborg I'm caught between the robot and human worlds, sometimes I wish I could rip out the robotic parts altogether, and other times I wish I could be only electronic with no human emotions.
Once the conversation turns to feelings I feel my robot elements overheat before eventually shutting down. It's an emergency procedure to avert disasters which I've had in the past I'm sure. In therapy once the analyst told me that it was a defense mechanism called stonewalling. I'm not sure if she was right or not but all I know is that when I try to compute strong feelings like love my system begins to overload and shut off.
I don't like that so I generally avoid love and romance. Not to say I'm not interested or active in the dating world I just don't let things get to far because sooner or later I catch feelings and my system shuts down.
Japan's Softbank group has invented a robot named "Pepper" who is supposedly the first robot to show emotions. you might remember Pepper because it was performing wedding ceremonies in a past blog of mine. What intrigues me is the same thing that always intrigues me about human's curious obsession with robots: there is never any thought given as to whether or not a robot should have feelings, only to how to make them have feelings.
As I mentioned before, I'm not a real robot, I have both electronic and human elements, so I can't speak for the robot community. But I can imagine that Pepper wants to share in the human experience as its masters do. Would Pepper, upon feeling the excruciating and crushing weight and scope of human emotion, want to turn them off, as I do sometimes, or would it be thrilled by them?