Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.


Does HAL Cry Digital Tears?

Interesting essay by Roz Picard at MIT on Does HAL Cry Digital Tears?

Are emotions a desirable property for computers to have? It’s hard to imagine someday walking into a computer store and saying, “Give me the most emotional machine you’ve got.” After all, isn’t possessing the highest form of rationality one of the hallmarks of computers? Aren’t Mr. Spock and Data the unemotional patron saints of computer scientists? Imagine how a computer with emotion might work — perhaps it would have to feel interested before it would listen to what you have to tell it. On the face of it, emotions in computers sound absurd. After all, didn’t emotion cause HAL to malfunction?

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