Universal Ethics > Thought of the Month > October 2020

If robots could be built with intelligence and internal motivators, they could be like people but immortal. There would be no disease to gradually destroy them, and any part that wears out could be replaced. But what would they do?

Here's what they wouldn't do:

So what's left to do? Nothing, except possibly one thing: whatever their human master tells them to do!

Humans may be slow and fragile, mortal, and constantly forgetting part of what they learned before, but in a peculiar sort of way that's the benefit of them. No factory is needed to produce them, and no download is needed either; they just gradually learn and explore. And with many of them over many generations, knowledge is collected and new discoveries are made and rediscovered and disseminated among them.

Robots could potentially invent things too, but what would they do with the inventions when there is no particular need to do anything?

Humans want to do things that seem to serve no purpose, but that gives them things to do with their inventions, and that makes it worthwhile to them to discover and invent.

Is that really necessary? I don't know, but I like it anyway, and probably you do too. So let's just keep on doing it!

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