Being Human


Two days ago during our farewell in college, one of our teachers gave us a parting message. She said, “Though I have taught you Robotics, I don’t want you guys to become Robots.” She gave a short 5 minutes speech, but this first line of her talk sent my brain on a thinkathon. A robot is a mechanical device that has many degrees of motions to move around, a controller that instructs it, and sensors that inform it about its environment, in short it is something modelled after us. Plus, it is far more efficient and can work for a number of hours without showing fatigue, resulting in more precise and accurate work being done. This is the reason why Robots are replacing Humans in mass production lines at many places.

Robots are more efficient, are hardworking and do the job much more efficiently and effectively. Then why did she say what she said? The simple reason was that Robots cannot think. They have the brains to control their motion but they cannot decide where to move. Even in the real world many of us are robots. We follow orders and do not apply our minds to create a new path.

In school I had read a poem titled “The Road Not Take” by Robert Frost. The poems last lines:

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

These lines tell us about the importance of free thinking. How we should charter our own paths towards our destiny. A robot will not know that. It would follow the path we show him to follow. In the subject we are taught that if we give a robot a choice of paths, it would never reach its destination, as it would not know which one to follow. There are some, no many humans who are robots in a similar way. So yes, we should rise above it and be the ones creating the way, rather than follow.

Though, with the advancements in technology like Artificial Intelligence, some may argue that the advanced robots have the ability to make a choice. It can detect changes in the environment and take decision using the logic embedded in its processor. But is it enough? There was a movie titled “I Robot”, in which the male lead was saved by a robot after his car was pushed in a lake by a truck. The robot had used its logic to determine that the hero had 45% chances of survival and a little girl with him only 11%, so it was a logical choice to save him. But, as the hero says later, a human would have known that the little girl was a priority and the 11% chance was more than enough. Though this is an example rather steeped in science fiction, but still manages to convey a point.

A robot although more effective and efficient and capable of working hours at a stretch without needing a time off, is still no match for a human. But the sad part is that as we are relying more and more on machines to do our work, we are losing the human touch. It is there somewhere inside us, we just need to dig inside to find it.

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Comments
6 Responses to “Being Human”
  1. Well said.

    Everyday i try to be a human and fail at the end
    of the day. (As an IT employee)

  2. mecanisme63 says:

    No

    I disagree with your point

    The very essence of what makes us human is also our biggest flaw

    And the is emotion, it is the opposing force to the logical powers of our brain

    If a AI can be produced sophisticated enough to mimic every aspect of the human logic system without the constraints of emotion and somewhat known as … the human heart

    This race of robots would out outperform us in every way possible. We humans would become obsolete. A flawed model destined to be recalled and scrapped

    Taking account of your example from I-Robot is preciously why robotic thinking would be superior, and here is why

    Even if the little girl is saved and lets say, she does survive which is already highly unlikely. She would spend many years being a burden to society, consuming resources without giving anything back before she can repay the burden; even so, its questionable to how much she is capable to contribute back, or will she continue to be a burden i.e. unemployed? is it inevitable a highly risky burden with little predictable reward

    Whilst on the other hand, saving the full grown male and an especially a particular skilled one can immediately resume his works and his contribution to society without the need for being a initial burden.

    Logic dictates that it is in our best interests to save the full grown male

    Our heart tells us differently, and that my friend, is what makes us weak.

  3. Mayur says:

    I strongly recommend you guys to watch the movie ‘Dead Poet’s Society’. Strong recommendation!

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  1. […] Though I never intended to but I have been forced to write a post related to my earlier post titled Being Human. The main motivation for this particular post was the comment written by Mecanisme. I had written a […]



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