Robots-Week 3-Kevin Schmidt

Technology has progressed so much in the past couple decades. It started with the practical use of the assembly line by Ford. He personally revolutionized the way that things are produced. By doing things in a piece by piece basis he was able to make the production of cars more practical efficient. Fords method of the assembly line has been further revolutionized by the use of machines and robots. Because the tasks are so minimal that each position has to do they can often be easily replaced by robots. This replacement of jobs by robots is one that allows things to be made more efficient but it also brings up the issue of sacrificing human jobs in the name of efficiency.

Robots have become a huge area of research because of the potential that they have to make our everyday life easier and more efficient. Artificial intelligence is a field of study that has many people questioning it because of the things that can go wrong with it. These problems have been an area of discussion in many science fiction novels and movies. One such example is Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. In this novel she has a mad scientist create a half man half robotic monster that turns on humans and kills them. It is a clear message that people should not mess with nature because they are only going to screw it up in doing so. However there are so many positive things that artificial intelligence brings us that it is a constant battle of what is right and wrong, and what aspects of nature can be altered by science and technology and what aspects would be morally wrong to tamper with.

We also discussed dualism, this concept was first presented by Rene Descartes. The theory proposes that the mind and body are two completely separate entities. He justifies this by saying that he autopsied many bodies and could not find the soul in any of them. People who believe this theory are often in favor of artificial intelligence because if the soul is a completely separate entity any way then the human body is nothing more than a very intricate machine. Although I don’t believe that argument I think its an interesting one to debate.

Modern companies strive for efficiency so they often break down of jobs into their component parts and measure how long each part takes to achieve maximum efficiency. Nike is one notable company who did this in their shoe department to try to increase profit.
Here is a cool link that further discusses the concept of cybernetics. http://www.thinking.net/Cybernetics/cybernetics.html
We talked about cybernetics briefly in class and this helps expand on that.

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