[Paleopsych] Guardian: Sex and the single robot
checker at panix.com
Thu Feb 3 20:05:30 UTC 2005
Sex and the single robot
Jonathan Watts, East Asia correspondent
Wednesday February 2, 2005
Scientists have made them walk and talk. There are even robots that
can run. But a South Korean professor is poised to take their
development several steps further, and give cybersex new meaning.
Kim Jong-Hwan, the director of the ITRC-Intelligent Robot Research
Centre, has developed a series of artificial chromosomes that, he
says, will allow robots to feel lusty, and could eventually lead to
them reproducing. He says the software, which will be installed in a
robot within the next three months, will give the machines the ability
to feel, reason and desire.
Kim, a leading authority on technology and ethics of robotics, said:
"Christians may not like it, but we must consider this the origin of
an artificial species. Until now, most researchers in this field have
focused only on the functionality of the machines, but we think in
terms of the essence of the creatures." That "essence" is a computer
code, which determines a robot's propensity to "feel" happy, sad,
angry, sleepy, hungry or afraid. Kim says this software is modelled on
human DNA, though equivalent to a single strand of genetic code rather
than the complex double helix of a real chromosome.
Kim said: "Robots will have their own personalities and emotion and -
as films like I Robot warn - that could be very dangerous for
humanity. If we can provide a robot with good - soft - chromosomes,
they may not be such a threat."
Although he admits his ideas sound fantastic, Kim is no crank. In the
mid-1990s, the professor launched the robot football world cup, which
has since become one of the most popular means for robotics
researchers to measure their progress against competitors from around
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