Georgetown University. Communication, Culture & Technology Graduate Program
Science fiction has presented us with a picture of robots that have the potential to mimic humans to the point of being indistinguishable from them. This paper is about some of the essential ways the two are different. The argument is that we differ from machines at our base processing level, and even though some modern manifestations of robotics are approaching human-like appearance and capability, it is important to ensure that we are not tricked by their design. Human beings' capacity for free will and intuition, experience of pain, and robots' characteristics as compared to animals present stark differences between humans and machines. Drawing on Immanuel Kant's discussion of humanity and animality, this paper illustrates how different our current versions of robots are and why they should always be considered differently when it comes to governing and creating policy for these emerging technologies.
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