Due: 5:00pm, Wednesday, December 9. Value: 60 pts.
Read the short story
Evidence from I, Robot, then
write an essay responding to the below prompt. The essay should be
approximately 2–4 double-spaced pages, though it may be shorter
or longer as long as you answer the questions fully. The essay should
fluently integrate answers to the questions into one coherent whole
response, and it should be able to stand on its own without reference
to the assignment. Please include page numbers for any citations of
the source story.
Both our experience in this course as well as Asimov's robots that
follow the Three Laws suggest that robots are essentially mindless
automata that might simulate the results of thinking
without actually thinking. In the words of philosopher Blaise
Pascal, who invented an early mechanical adding machine,
adding-machine produces effects closer to thought than anything done
by the animals, but it does nothing to justify the assertion that it
has a will like the animals.
Evidence we are presented with a robot that is
remarkably human-like. Computer science pioneer Alan Turing asserted
that if a computer could fool a human into thinking that it was itself
human, that it must be intelligent in the same sense that a human being is.
This is his famous
Assess whether the robot described in
Evidence ought to be
human. In particular, focus on whether that robot
ought to have all of the rights that society conventionally grants
to human beings. Be sure to discuss what you consider to be the
appropriate criteria for classifying a robot as a
specific examples from the story and from your experience programming
robots in this course to support your position. Pay particular
attention to the ability of the robot from Labs 8 and 9 to
find the line, avoid obstacles, and follow moving objects. Also feel
free to include other evidence that you consider pertinent. In your
conclusion, state whether you think Pascal or Turing had a better
case to make with regard to artificial intelligence. Feel free to
do some research to learn more about the Turing Test if you believe
it would strengthen your argument.
Submit your essay either by e-mail (Word or PDF format) or by bringing a printout to my office, MCRey 310.