Note: I wrote this for a job I'm applying for, but I feel it's also a fun blog post.
I recently picked up my phone and listened to a show I hadn’t heard in a few months, Imaginary Worlds. As a fan of sci-fi, comic books, and the like, I find this show to be informative and extremely entertaining. The episode I listened to was “The Robot Uprising” from May 19, 2016.
This episode, like many Imaginary Worlds episodes, clocked in at under 20 minutes. Almost immediately we are introduced to Joanna Bryson, a doctor in artificial intelligence and robotics. Bryson sets the scene explaining that humans only feel bad for robots when they look like humans.
After talks of creating something we owe an obligation to, we are introduced to the comparison between the popular culture of robots in European society versus the United States. In Europe, robot stories are a parallel to Marxist culture, whereas in the United States the parallel falls closer to the country’s history with slavery. I quickly connected with this through the next interview. It was interesting seeing how in my society there seemed to be only variations of the same story.
As the episode reaches its end, the audience is introduced to what the actuality of future artificial intelligence is: self-driving cars. We hear from a member of the team at Google and it’s explained that the idea of an uprising or going against programming isn’t even discussed due to the fact that we think of a car as a car and nothing more.
The thread that really holds this entire episode together is Isaac Asimov, who wrote The Three Laws of Robotics. We hear information of his writings and research throughout the entire show. In the end we are reminded that Asimov was a science fiction writer, and Joanna Bryson leaves us with three new laws of robotics which reflect more upon the human psyche.