The article I have posted below, entitled “Do Human-like Robots Really Threaten our Identity,” uses Sophia, a female humanoid designed by Hanson Robotics, to raise two questions concerning whether or not increasingly realistic robots will threaten human identity. The first question raises the prevalent issue of what it means to be human, and if the existence of these humanoids is undermining our humanness. The second question, asks whether or not these robots would be able to eventually blend in, indistinguishable from humans. The article pushes that these two questions are related in that, if a humanoid is indistinguishable from a human, they have essentially become better than, if not equal to, humans, and have therefore disproved that there is something innate within the human race that makes us unique and unreplicable. As technology progresses, these humanoids are becoming increasingly realistic. For example, Sophia is capable of 62 facial expressions, realistic movements and the ability to hold a conversation (Hill). While such advances indicate that in the near future, robots will have the full capacity to act a human’s act, the question of whether or not robots will be capable of intelligence, as it relates to consciousness, is still uncertain. Without the ability of a consciousness, machines would simply be imitating the actions of humans, and would essentially be more advanced versions of Maillard’s artifcial Swan. While machines may have the ability to mimic actions, and even trick humans into believing they are human through basic conversation (The Turing Test), AI will never reach a level in which they become completely indistinguishable from humans.
The theory of Psychologism posed by Ned Block in his work, “Psychologism and Behaviorism” highlights this distinction between humans and machines by disputing behaviorism as a means of consciousness.Block makes several arguments against the theory of behaviorism, writing that machines do “not allow us to distinguish between behavior that reflects a machine’s own intelligence, and behavior that reflects only the intelligence of the machine’s programmers” (Block 25). He goes on to give an example of a robot doppelganger, which “uses its description of your cognitive mechanisms to deduce the product of your cognitions…” (41), which ultimately falls short in that “the robot’s manipulation of descriptions of your experiential and emotional processes are themselves experiential and emotional processes” (41).
This distinction between humans and machines is unique in that it presents machines to potentially be capable of essentially all the functions of humans, however, these functions are merely copies of the original human counterparts. In the same way that a machine’s humanoid responses do not make it human, it also stands that a machines emotions or thoughts, which are merely copies of human emotions and thoughts, do not make a machine any closer to being completely indistinguishable from humans than actions. While the field of AI is rapidly growing, and perhaps in the nearby future machines and humans will work together within a society, there is no evidence that humanoid AI machines will be able to completely take on the full identity of humans.