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Tag: Frankenstein

Emotional Robots: Useless and Dangerous

      Robots are real. This idea has severe, negative connotations for much of society. When many people think of robots they likely think of a Terminator-like being; a singularity with desires to raize humanity. Currently, that is not the status of artificial intelligence (AI). Instead, AI is used to aid humans by means such as informing us where restaurants are or driving us to certain locations. Artificial intelligence and robots play a key role in our society, and will likely become even more important as computer scientists make new discoveries. However, although the advancement of AI can prove useful, there is a limit that needs to be drawn: artificial emotion and highly advanced thought. It would be unwise for scientists to mimic the infamous Victor Frankenstein by creating beings capable of human emotion and thought. While robots that can perform tasks for humans are incredibly useful in society, creating robots capable of more complex thought and feelings of emotions is unnecessary and could result in controversy over robotic rights, and could potentially lead to human demise if the laws of robotics were overcome.

      Current robots are already incredibly useful, and advancing their cognitive abilities to have emotion and improved intelligence would reap no greater benefit. Robots are used in various industries. From working in automobile companies to building electronics, robots play a key role in our society (roboto). Why we would need more advanced robots, capable of achieving greater tasks is a mystery to me. Some people would argue that robots in their current state will never be as adept at unique problem solving as humans, and because of this, it could be useful to have more advanced robots. However, there is evidence that contradicts this claim. In the MIT Technology Review, they discussed an experiment where judges talked to a chatbot and a real human and had to determine which was which. In many cases the judges thought the chatbot was the real human and vice versa, proving the complex mental capacity and quick thinking of AI (MIT). Robots are already far more advanced than many people realize; they can do many things humans cannot and can appear more human than humans (MIT).  Robot emotion is becoming a very real possibility, and the outcomes of it could be devastating.

      If robots were to feel emotions, society would need to consider their rights as living beings, which could be detrimental to humanity. It is unjust and cruel to deny a living, caring thing certain treatments and activities. Therefore, robots with emotions and specific desires would be a severe weight on our society. Robots are designed to aid humans, and purely that.  If AI had emotions, they would have certain needs beyond what is needed for their basic function. If robots were to suddenly need food or fuel, or leisure time, or certain amenities, there would be a noticeable cost to society.  Furthermore, if the individual desires of AI conflicted with that of humans,  the consequences could be severe.

      Robots, enhanced with personal desires and emotion, could seek to destroy humanity if they felt that humanity’s existence was negatively affecting the earth. Robots are highly logical; they are created and given intelligence through clear, thought out code, that commands for highly specific actions. Therefore, to them, it may be rational to eradicate human life, as it is the logical action to do to improve the wellbeing of the earth. From bombing massive swaths of land to pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to causing the sixth mass extinction, human impact on the earth is clearly not positive (NASA). Robots could assess the pros and cons of human existence, and based on humanity’s current actions, it is likely that AI would find us to be a plague on earth that they would try to annihilate. 

      I will say it again: Robots are incredibly useful. Society would not be anywhere near where it is now without them. However, I think we should try to be content with the level of aid they give us now, and not strive to advance them further. Highly advanced robots that could be capable of emotion would be an extreme danger to society, which is why I caution scientists to consider where they are headed, and not make a mistake as costly as that of Victor Frankenstein; we do not want to create a being or beings that have desires that conflict with our own, as these conflictions could lead to a negative outcome. While many scientific inventions have furthered the human race, improved robotic thought and emotion would not be one of those inventions; it would be the atom bomb of the future. 

CITATIONS

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2731768/Robots-need-learn-value-human-life-dont-kill-Future-droids-murder-kindness-engineer-claims.html

http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=1&sid=ce5c2c3e-54d5-4379-aa74-ae3ad4fed39c%40sessionmgr104&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=125667871&db=a9h

http://robotobibok.com/review-exploring-various-uses-robots.html

MIT Technology Review. “The AI Issue”

http://theconversation.com/how-do-robots-see-the-world-51205

https://climate.nasa.gov/effects/

 

 

Was Frankenstein a monster?

Despite the misleading nature of the popularized conception of the horror story, the character Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelly’s novel was certainly not a physical monster. However, by creating a monster who murdered multiple innocent people, should Victor be considered a monster himself? In order to answer this question, one must consider what defines a monster. When the word “monster” is mentioned, the first thing that is brought to mind is a grotesque form from a horror movie. But in describing a human, the most relevant definition of the word ‘monster’ is actually “an inhumanly cruel or wicked person”.  So the real question is, was Victor’s act of creation inhuman? 

Victor created life, in an unnatural way, which is arguably very unethical. He was passionately driven by an inexplicable burning desire to create the creature. He was obsessed with his studies that would allow him to create this life form. In his rash succession of actions, he did not think ahead at all about the implications of his work. He did not have any concrete plan about what he would do once he successfully created his creature. In this way, his actions were very maniacal. He went about his creation with the obsession of a madman, in a way very reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories. These stories often focus on a deeply troubled and obsessed man, who performs a horrendous act and suffers a terrible, often self-inflicted, punishment. In these ways, Victor was very similar to the characters of these stories.

Victor was constantly sickened with guilt after completing his work, and after each terrible act the monster committed. He did realize that his actions were wrong, yet he did nothing in attempt to right them. In this way, it is arguable that Victor was not completely a monster, as he still felt the natural human emotion of guilt. However, this in the only area in which he seemed to maintain some sanity.

The nature of this tale seems to suggest that Victor’s actions were not appropriate. Victor was severely punished by his actions, as he was morally tormented by his creation. He was bothered and sickened so much that over time he became so agonized that he died from his guilt. The novel also portrayed the criminal acts committed by the creature to be much more the fault of Victor, despite the fact that the monster was the one performing the murders. The reader even goes so far as to somewhat pity the monster as a lonely and helpful creature, further putting Victor at fault for creating such a miserable creature. This punishment and portrayal seems to indicate that Victor has overstepped the bounds of human control and gone past the limits of what is ethical in creating his monster, an inhuman act.

So yes, Frankenstein was a monster. But not the Frankenstein from the movies, not the creature, but Victor Frankenstein, the crazy man who became possessed by his act of unethical creation, and tortured himself to death with guilt because of it.

How to Make a Monster: 101

          It is inhumanly tall, with a mutilated and malformed physique, devoid of emotion or sympathy, it is a murderous fiend; this is the description the society in Mary Shelley’s novel gives to Frankenstein’s monster. Nowhere in their summary of the creature would society mention the creatures love, compassion, or heroic acts. They judged him based on his intimidating appearance, and when he did begin to murder, they blamed him for his actions, assuming that he was innately violent and cruel. Victor Frankenstein and others did not acknowledge the fact that their actions, their judgments, exclusivity, and hatred contributed to the monster committing crimes. The premature judgment of the monster is an allegory for the real world; criminals are judged based off of their actions alone, with little thought given as to why they were driven to their wrongdoing. Creatures are rarely born monsters, but rather, they are created when they are not given adequate parental guidance, are excluded from society, and experience excessive feelings of animosity.

          In Mary Shelley’s novel, and in the real world, beings struggle when they are not given adequate care, guidance, and love, leading to criminality. When Victor Frankenstein abandoned his creation, the result was disastrous; his monster was left alone, not knowing what to do, or how to live. Miraculously, he managed to survive, and become knowledgeable on his own. However, he still felt angry and injured by how Frankenstein, his father, had abandoned him, and so the monster ended up seeking revenge by killing all those that Victor held dear. Lack of care, let alone abandonment, has been proven to negatively affect children. Neglected children often have psychological disorders, depression, and struggle to have lasting relationships and friendships. Furthermore, these children are more likely to be prosecuted for juvenile delinquency (SPCC, 2014). If one is not loved and cared for, they would likely not love and care others, as no one set that example. Without guidance in social interactions, education, and life in general, it is impossible to thrive and fit into society, which can lead to resentment and anger. This is shown both with Frankenstein’s monster, and with neglected children; they are not loved, and as a result, they are angered and confused, leading them to commit crimes, which further distances them from society.

            When one is excluded and abused by society, naturally, they will want to rebel against it, which can have violent results. This case is clearly shown in Shelley’s novel. When Frankenstein’s monster, with the utmost politeness, tries to join the family living in the cottage, a man beats him viciously with a stick. Then, after rescuing a drowning girl, he is “rewarded” with her father shooting him. No matter how kind and helpful the creature was, society rejected him. Hopeless, he accepted that humanity would never do anything but despise him, so he began to hate humanity, and eventually became a murderer. The creature’s situation and reactions are also reflected in the real world. Mass murderers often feel victimized and removed from society, and as though the only way they can do anything meaningful and fulfilling is through slaughtering human beings (Stanford, 1994). Though disturbing and extreme, this reaction to being excluded is to be expected. Without positive societal relations, an individual will have no reason to care for the society, on the contrary, they will likely want revenge on its members for leaving them in such a miserable situation.

          Moods and feelings are infectious, and when one is exposed to a negative atmosphere for a majority of there lives, the outcome can calamitous, both for the individual and society. There is, in fact, a psychological term called the “emotional contagion,” a process by which moods and emotions are transferred from one person to another. This phenomenon is manifested in the case of Frankenstein’s monster. While he is initially benevolent, as he experiences more and more negative feelings, namely hatred and disgust, these feeling begin to rub off on him. This idea can also be clearly seen in marriages where, if one spouse is unhappy it will likely be that the other is unhappy as well. Additionally, people in prisons, who reside in environments filled with hatred and depression, are likely to be feeling those emotions themselves as a result of the “emotional contagion”(Lewandowski, 2018). If one were to experience exclusively negativity and unpleasant emotions, they would likely become desperate and angry, which could result in them acting on these feelings in the form of murder.

          Parental guidance and societal relations play an incredibly large role in the formation of creatures, good and bad. Humans and Frankenstein’s monster are not solitary creatures; they require love, compassion, and inclusion. If not given these things by their societies, they will be angry and resentful, and potentially, they will try to harm the societies that hurt them. So, while murderers are responsible for their actions, one must also consider what made the felon do what they did, and how that can be resolved. This does not mean locking them in prison, leaving them to rot alone and angry. It means reconciling with them, empathizing with them, and trying to understand them. I am not saying that we should let mass murderers run free in the streets. But, perhaps, we should consider their story, help them rehabilitate, and try to integrate them into society, something which they may have never been part of. There are dangers, and this issue is clearly not black and white, and nor is it easy. However, it is, without a doubt, of exceptional importance to try to communicate with and aid those who we may rather not associate with. For that is how to deconstruct a monster.

 

Literature Cited

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, 1797-1851. Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus : the 1818 Text. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Print.

 

SPCC, et al. (2014, July 17). Effects of Bad Parenting on Your Child. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from https://americanspcc.org/effects-bad-parenting-child/

 

Stanford University News Report. (1994, May 31). Graduate student examines America’s fascination with serial killers. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from https://web.stanford.edu/dept/news/pr/94/940531Arc4242.html

 

Lewandowski, G. W., Jr. (2018). Is a Bad Mood Contagious? Retrieved February 28, 2018, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-a-bad-mood-contagious/

 

Appearance, Does it Matter?

Chase Holding

2/27/18

Professor Fleming

Appearance, Does it Matter?

 

Mary Shelly’s novel “Frankenstein” depicts many life lessons about ones appearance that can be applied in present day society. In the beginning of this novel, Victor Frankenstein creates a monster that is able to feel emotions that any human can. Unfortunately, this monster is hideous and cannot convey his feelings and human like nature to anyone without scaring them away. Having never lived in this world, the monster is quick in understanding how judgmental of creatures humans can be. The way the monster is treated in this novel is applicable when discussing human interaction as a whole. There is no question that ones physical appearance has always played a large role in society. The question is: How far will people go to alter the way they look? Continue reading

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