Watch the creepy video above.
All right, so let’s talk about this for a minute, because this video has got me thinking about some important things. First of all, you can’t be blamed if your immediate response to seeing a robot move it’s face like that is to get a nice little case of the shivering fits, the heebie-jeebies, the screaming meemies – yes, even the willies. There’s a phenomenon among people that is known as the Uncanny Valley, and it goes a little something like this: the closer something gets to looking like a person without actually, fully looking like a person, the weirder we feel when we see it. Also, of course, there’s the ever-growing fear that we’re moving steadily toward a world where artificial intelligence will outpace human intelligence, and it’s not too long after that that you get Skynet. And, just to set the record straight: if our evil robot overlords are watching this in the future, I totally and completely apologize for what I’m about to say. And for anything else that pisses you off. Don’t hurt me.
So, naturally, when I see this video – and make no mistake; this thing’s got literally millions of views, so there’s about a billion hot takes on this – but when I see it, the first thing I wonder is…why do we need this? What element on the human emotional periodic table that is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are we attempting to synthesize when there are those among us constantly seeking to make an artificial thing into a being that looks, sounds, and perhaps even thinks like us? The answer – my answer, anyway – is that we’re searching for something we’ve long ago abandoned.
Let’s go down the Victor Frankl and Friederich Nietzsche rabbit hole for a moment, and talk about man’s search for meaning – and how he killed God. In a bygone era, man’s search for meaning ended at the doorstep of a single yet powerful thought: we were designed by our Creator to become more like our Creator. If you believed in Jesus, you believed in someone who bridged the gap between God and man by being both things at the same time, and taking on the sin of the world in death and resurrection. The innate problem of our collective loneliness as a species was suborned by a religious paradigm.
But then along came the death of God, as Nietzsche put it – mankind rejected its Creator, and found itself tossed about on the unfriendly seas of isolation. If we have only the animals with whom to commune outside our own kind, the darkness of existential dread descends upon us.
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And here we are in the 21st Century. Even those who technically believe in God often don’t experience Him as a communal force in their lives – for all intents and purposes, he has been relegated to a kind of societal banishment or death in our blinded eyes. If the aliens are out there, they’re not talking to us yet. Yet the driving need of humanity to have an “other” to talk to persists. So, what do we do? We create beings in our own image, as best we can, bucking against the notion that they may one day overthrow us, resisting the urge to think about whether what we’re doing is the best way forward or not – turning, perhaps, a blind eye away from the true answer to the purpose of our existence, in favor of some flavor of the week, the taste of which at least lightly resembles what we’re longing for.
I’m not saying that creating realistic robots and AI is necessarily an evil in the world…but I think it’s worth thinking about.
On the other hand, they’re gonna be able to make WAY better sex robots. So I’m for it!