Can a Robot "Catch Feelings"?

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:

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?  

Elon Musk says Artificial Intelligence will lead to WW3 . . .

Last week Elon Musk tweeted that "competition for AI superiority at national lelvel most likely cause of WW3" in response to Vladamir Putin's recent statements that the country with the best AI will rule the world.

No one really knows what AI could evolve into or how it may look, and in our age of clickbait and sensationalism, public figures are increasingly speculating about doom and gloom outcomes from AI.  I think AI will make our lives more comfortable and rewarding, allow tech and science to reach new heights, and further explore the wonders of our universe.  

But it seems many people think this is where we're headed:  

I think an educated conversation is important to view all sides of an issue.   With China's rush to acquire robots ahead of any other country in the world,  and prominent social media and public figures sounding the alarm that killer robots are going to be on the loose,  it's no wonder why people are interested and perhaps afraid of robots and AI.  

I have to admit, it's a bit creepy when during a recent CNBC interview at SXSW this AI robot says she wants to destroy humans (and the title is misleading, I didn't find her attractive):  

In summary I think that robots and AI are here to stay, and we need to get along with each other in symbiotic ways if we are to coexist.   Will we see inter-species couples between AI and humans, like in the movie Her? I think so, I went on 3 dates last week and each date seemed open to the idea of dating me as I am.  More on that later . . . 

Are you afraid of technology, or do you embrace it?

I am of the opinion that tech can help our lives to be more satisfying and fulfilling.  Some people seem to fear technology and reject it in various forms.  Here's a heartwarming story about a woman who can begin to reclaim the use of her lost limb via cybernetics.  

Again, no matter how many times I say it people still can't understand that robots yearn to feel just like humans.  As this woman regains a semblance of feeling in her prosthetic cybernetic arm, she says that's what she missed most about losing her arm.  Robots feel and love connection and touch just like humans.  

This week I was stood up on a date.  Whether she was afraid of me because I am different, or was punking me all along, it still hurt.  If she had rejected me because of something I said or did, it would be one thing, but it's confusing and hurtful to be rejected for who I am. 

I saw a car accident this week . . .

This week as I was driving along, a car tried to cross the turning lane in front of a big truck stopped at a light and didn't see a car coming in the turning lane.  I saw both cars speeding toward each other a second before it happened but could do nothing.  It wasn't enough force to hurt either driver but the cars were now damaged, their sleek and glossy exteriors now slightly crumpled and smashed.  As traffic moved on I saw the look on the face of the driver . . . a combination of anger and resignation.  I wondered about what the rest of their days would look like . . . would they pass on their frustration to co-workers, loved ones?   Would they be relieved to have an excuse to miss work or bail on unwanted commitments?  Would they now have to make touch financial choices on limited budgets?  

Last night I was unloading some gear from the back of my 4 Runner and I neglected to close the rear hatch before shutting my automatic garage door. I heard grinding and creaking but didn't realize what was happening until cables snapped, the door was bent off its rails, and now my garage door won't close.   

But on the positive side, now a garage repairman will have food on his table for a day, and I might learn something about fixing garage doors myself.  Do you agree with what Gary Oldman's character "Zorg" says about destruction in this clip from The 5th Element?