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Robots & Humanity

A remarkable discovery has emerged in astrophysics: key properties of the universe have just the right values to make life possible. Most scientists prefer to explain away this uniqueness, insisting that a number of unseen universes must therefore exist, each randomly different. Astrophysicist Bernard Haisch joined George Knapp in the first half of the show to propose the alternative—that the special properties of our universe reflect an underlying intelligent consciousness.

In the second half of the program, veteran journalist Chris Taylor talked about how the Star Wars franchise has conquered our culture with a sense of lightness and exuberance, while remaining serious enough to influence politics, and spread a spirituality that appeals to religious groups and atheists alike.

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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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