[extropy-chat] Will trophy wives abuse the robots?

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Wed Jan 17 10:30:03 UTC 2007

Robert Bradbury wrote:
> When robots, which are presumably programmed to perform their function as
> good or better than a human could ever hope to do, are doing a "perfect"
> job, would people of the type mentioned in the article actually employ
> them?  Or would they insist on semi-incompetent humans so as to raise
> their
> own sense of self-worth?

Given my understanding of human psychology, self-worth is worth much more
than a perfectly cleaned house or a delicious three-course meal. If there
is a choice between DomoBot for $100 a month and a butler at $120,000 a
month, the butler is clearly the thing to get. He might of course use
DomoBots, but it is the human (expensive) touch that matters.

I'm just sceptical of the possibility of perfection in housework.

> 2. This is one of the trickier questions I have wrestled with over the
> last
> several years.  Why should one seek to extend the longevity of individuals
> whose fundamental operating principle is "bitching"?  Not inventing, not
> creating, not contributing, not adding to the aggregate human knowledge
> base, simply "bitching".  So if there are suggestions as to how one
> enables
> extropic productivity without at the same time enabling the vampires I am
> open to suggestions.

Maybe it is not worth it? Inventing a reward system that rewards extropic
behavior more than entropic behavior doesn't seem impossible (current
markets to it to some extent), but making it just reward the former and
not the latter may be very hard. As long as there are enough safeguards
preventing parasitism from becoming overwhelming or affecting the extropic
parts unduly it might simply be enough to let the free riders ride along.
Maybe that is the ultimate revenge: being rich enough to ignore the
vampires. Since their self-worth comes from causing a reaction from their
lifegiver this would be the worst possible outcome for them.

Anders Sandberg,
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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