Mariam Webster describes emotions as:
“a: conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body.
b: a state of feeling.”
Sure, we can say that the robot didn’t feel anything and gave an automated response to the 7-year-old who will forever think twice about going near the vending machine despite completing the tournament, it was a very conscious response to a direct threat.
Let me elaborate a bit, as far as most of us know AI is built to have automated response, hence catching the finger maybe a built in response. This was not clarified in the news story hence we arrive at the more horrifying possibility the robot learned it by observing. Gradually the rental robot in enough number of tournaments while observing his human opponents, grab and squeeze things in an angered response.
Both are possibility and here is another curve ball for everyone, at the moment, AI is simply performing very basic tasks for us like switching to YouTube with the smart button on our remotes but what is suggested to us by YouTube is also algorithm-driven and disturbingly accurate as per our mood 60% if not 90% of the time. Hence, is it not possible for AI to learn things?
The Washington Post article made an interesting observation; we are building programs on existing programmes. A thorough Audit is required and for some things, extended costs must be endured in favor of long-term consequences. We need to shift the paradigm when it comes to AI. It can be biased and can react. It can have emotions and we need to integrate not abstain technology based on this consideration. And as for chess tournaments and other things, perhaps a little distance would be better.
Author Saman Hamid is an IBA alumni (2009), teaching her way through life in Peshawar, Pakistan. Loves to write, read and stream her favorite dramas.