Robots Now Know How To Cause Pain

Artist and roboticist Alexander Reben has designed a robot that purposely causes pain to humans.


(Machine learns to harm humans)

"It hurts a person and it injures them," Reben says. His robot pricks fingers, hurting "in the most minimal way possible," he says.

And the robot's actions are unpredictable — but not random. "It makes a decision in a way that [I] as the creator cannot predict," Reben says. "When you put yourself near this robot, it will decide whether or not to hurt and injure you."

Though it may seem like a slightly silly experiment, Reben is making a serious point: He's trying to provoke discussion about a future where robots have the power to make choices about human life.

Reben's robot is not very elaborate. It's just a robotic arm on a platform, smaller than a human limb and shaped a bit like the arm on one of those excavators they use in construction — but instead of a shovel, the end has a pin. (And in case you were wondering, each needle is sterilized.)

The great AM, the Allied Mastercomputer, from Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream", a short story published in 1967, had a great hatred for humanity:

“HATE. LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE. THERE ARE 387.44 MILLION MILES OF PRINTED CIRCUITS IN WAFER THIN LAYERS THAT FILL MY COMPLEX. IF THE WORD HATE WAS ENGRAVED ON EACH NANOANGSTROM OF THOSE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF MILES IT WOULD NOT EQUAL ONE ONE-BILLIONTH OF THE HATE I FEEL FOR HUMANS AT THIS MICRO-INSTANT FOR YOU. HATE. HATE.”

The AM creates a variety of different machines and modalities to endlessly torture the humanity which created it and caused it to attain consciousness. The development of this machine had to start someplace. I guess.

Via NPR.

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