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Life With and Within the Robot


Last Updated: 06/15/2015 9:13 am

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To the extent that we have some experiences that seem real or relevant, we bring most of the material, and do a heck of a lot of projecting of our own human traits onto who or whatever we're interrelating with through millions of lines of code, all while being observed by some authority figure that is the equivalent of a cyber god.

While the universal fear associated with robots is that they will rise up and take over the world, I think the real issue is that they are slowly training us to be like them, to respond without emotion, instantly, providing exactly what is demanded. They are training us to expect people to be like them. That's a subtle way to take over the world, and consciousness, and its evolution. Remember that when you go out on the street and people are walking around staring into their little computer screens. Remember that every time you hear about a car accident caused by someone who was texting.

Even when people get together, there's an increasingly stilted quality to the interchanges. Many young people consider it intimidating to meet people in person, or to be in any social circumstance where what's expected of them is not made explicitly clear. It's as if social interactions now must be part of an algorithm or nobody knows quite what to do.

It's as if the risk factor is too high in merely having an unscripted encounter with another person.

Now for the quest—reclaiming our souls in the midst of a time when advanced programmers are trying to figure out how to synthesize the soul, or distract you from remembering that you have one. There's no easy answer to that, nor is there an easy way to state the issue. One problem with all this automation is that instead of leading us to lives of leisure, every waking minute seems to be occupied and time is running out of control.

If you choose to explore some variant on physical reality, tangible experiences and in-person encounters, you may discover that fewer people than ever are interested—especially if it's a situation where they must "be themselves." To be yourself means to be who you are, thinking on your feet, unscripted, while being seen and listened to.

Soul means being you without a role to play, such as serving coffee, selling insurance, or being a girlfriend. Soul means facing the risk of rejection. Soul means allowing random things to happen. Soul means allowing a conversation to go for more than a few moments.

Soul means that your body and your senses are central to your life experience. And therein lies the rub: Being in your body reminds you that you won't have that opportunity forever.

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