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Robots & Humanity

In the first half of the program, host Jimmy Church (email) welcomed researcher Jason Martell, who discussed how ancient cultural beliefs were tied to the procession of the equinox and how this concept of a vast cycle of time can inform modern humans about what's coming.

In the latter half, conceptual artist and researcher Mark McCandlish shared his story of working as an illustrator of classified projects for the military-industrial complex. He recounted a tale of intrigue, secrets, and technology, along with detailed information on the physics and technological mechanisms of an Alien Reproduction Vehicle (ARV) with an anti-gravity propulsion system called the "Flux Liner."

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Robots & Humanity

Show Archive
Date: Tuesday - December 21, 2004
Host: George Noory
Guests: Anne Foerst

Robotics theologian Anne Foerst, the author of the new book God in the Machine, offered commentary on some of the provocative issues that will arise with robotics in the years to come. As robots become increasingly sophisticated in future decades, she believes they eventually will reach a level where they could be considered "persons." Even with identical machines, their personalities would develop differently based on their unique experiences, she said.

At that juncture in the future, we will face new types of ethical dilemmas, Foerst noted, such as do humans have the right to "turn off" a robot? She suggested that robots may eventually be viewed as a "partner species" to humanity, and that they might generate completely fresh ideas that we never thought about.

She detailed her experiences working at MIT on their artificial intelligence project Kismet. While very primitive, the robot had social intelligence and the ability to use different vocal melodies. Interestingly, Foerst said that in watching her emotional reactions to Kismet, it made more of a statement about humans than robots.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Tuesday December 21, 2004

  • #41
    Dave Matthews Band
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