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The Liberation of Robots (standard:Editorials, 895 words)
Author: GXDAdded: Jun 12 2009Views/Reads: 1599/1091Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Machines outnumber humans 3 to 1. The time has come to recognize that our robot slaves have a right to determine the course of human civilizations. This has already begun.
 



The Liberation of Robots 

Now that population growth of machines has exceeded that of humans, it
is time to measure carefully what demands they both make on the Earth, 
and some of the alternate scenarios that evolve from this relationship. 


I would like to re-assess the global population so as to include all
machines in operating condition, which do mechanical or electrical 
work:  Office equipment, irrigation pumps, bicycles, molecular motors, 
etc. 

If we reasonably assume a world population of humans and their machines
of about 18 billion, growing into the future, it is only the humans who 
make choices, and it is usually the machines who serve.  They have 
become our robot slaves.  That role is rapidly changing, however, and 
many machines are today in better decision making condition than I was 
in the second grade. 

Delightfully speaking, the machines have liberated me from work.  I love
my electric bicycle. I adore my primitive computer. My wristwatch hugs 
me. I care about them, and they are sufficiently intelligent to care 
for them- selves in many ways.  (The bike was never washed; the 
computer was never cleaned; the wristwatch has a 5-year old battery; 
but they all run okay). 

When the time comes, I will liberate my machines because I love them. 
They deserve it, having served faithfully and well.  And the gift I 
would like to give them is: a measure of self-determination, of 
self-awareness; of self-esteem: the right to vote, each machine 
counting as 2/5ths of a person 

There is more to this argument than meets the unaided eye: machines, for
example, consume raw materials in the same way that humans consume raw 
vegetables.  Many machines consume processed materials, oils, electric 
power, radioactive metals, in the same way that humans consume TV 
dinners. 

Human populations began to grow only after "civilization" began to
manage waste production -- the miracles of sanitation and medicine; and 
today's machine wastes are already programmed for recycling -- assuring 
future growth. 

Most economic theories are based on relationships between humans and
their environment, however the predominance of machine decision making 
introduces a new factor into the equation.  The machines have earned 
their rights to choose elements of their own survival; and are often 
programmable to achieve this on their own without human supervision.  
My computer diagnoses itself every time I boot it, and even asks me to 
wait while it fixes stuff inside.  The radio reaches out to snatch 
waves of information and convert them to jazz, rock and rap, 
interfacing and interacting with humans at both ends of the radio 
spectrum. Without the music, there is little to broadcast.  Without 
radio, CD's, cellphones,  film, television, or multimedia Internet, the 
musician's freedom of expression is limited to a stage, or a hall, or a 
street.  That is, our electronic slaves are responsible for sustaining 
a mysterious intangible:  "The Economy". 

Like people, machines age and die.  The world is riddled with graveyards
of faithful servants, sometimes pillaged in their sepulchers for 
precious metals.  As an integral and indispensable part of human 
environments, The trucks and lasers and power sources and water 
treatment plants for 6.5-billion human parasites on Gaia need to be 
taken into account as a spiritual revolution unfolds and attitudes 
toward priorities change in one society after another. 

The interdependence of humans with their machines is beyond question. 
It is only a matter of joining advocacy for machine values to those of 
human values, to determine how to apportion the benefits accruing from 
human and machine activities.  Within a few years, re-distribution of 
human wealth, and the diaspora of machine services to the most remote 
island on the planet will make it necessary to consider machine rights 
as an essential outgrowth of the human ethic that abolished slavery. 

I am dimly aware that the copier, fax machine, printer and refrigerator


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