Advertisement

“Robot” as a Life-Form Word

  • Hans Bernhard SchmidEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Studies in the Philosophy of Sociality book series (SIPS)

Abstract

In much of earlier philosophy of robotics and artificial intelligence, it is argued that while robots can perform fully standardized routine work, they are, as a matter of principle, unable to participate in the discursive practices within which our social form of life is negotiated. With robots (and their virtual counterparts, the bots) currently entering our service economy, it is not entirely unlikely to assume that this view is about to be disproven by the facts. It may well be that robots will soon be more “like us” in that the conventions and practices that shape our social form of life will be negotiated, in part, in cooperation with and partly even among our mechanical helpers. This paper investigates into the reasons for and causes of some of the fears at this prospect – a field of investigation in which literary fiction has often been more clear-sighted than received philosophy of robotics. It is argued that an influential and historically deeply rooted form of “robophobia” originates in an “us” versus “them” frame of mind that rests on a concept of radical self-alienation of mankind.

Keywords

Robophilosophy Robophobia Discursive practice Life-form Self-alienation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to Johanna Seibt and Raul Hakli for many insightful comments.

References

  1. Bell, D. (1974). The coming of post-industrial society: A venture in social forecasting. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  2. Collins, H. M. (1990). Artificial experts: Social knowledge and intelligent machines. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  3. Collins, H. M., & Kusch, M. (1995). Two kinds of action: A phenomenological study. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 55, 799–819.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dennett, D. C. (1984). Cognitive wheels: The frame problem in AI. In C. Hookway (Ed.), Minds, machines, and evolution: Philosophical studies (pp. 129–152). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Duffy, B. R. (2003). Anthropomorphism and the social robot. Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 42, 170–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fisher, A. (1939). Production, primary, secondary and tertiary. Economic Record, 15(1), 24–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hobbes, T. (1969). Leviathan, 1651. Menston: Scolar Press.Google Scholar
  8. Polanyi, M. (1958). Personal knowledge: Towards a post-critical philosophy. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Seibt, J., Hakli, R., & Nørskov, M. (Eds.). (2014). Sociable robots and the future of social relations: Proceedings of robo-philosophy 2014 (Vol. 273). Amsterdam: IOS Press.Google Scholar
  10. Thompson, M. (2008). Life and action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ziff, P. (1959). The feelings of robots. Analysis, 19, 64–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations