Friday, January 30, 2009

AI vs. therapist

By the grace of God OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) has an amazing hour of thoughtful psychological discussion that just happens to coincide with my rather long (and late!) drive home from work each night. Last night it was on AI and emotions and I almost flipped a lid. It is normally so intelligent and a perfect transition home from me... it gives me something intelligent and psychologically oriented to be focused on and an in-between-thought to interrupt me from my evening of work to my evening of fun and hanging out. Last night though, I almost had to call those silly people up and give them a piece of my mind.
They were actually having an arguement about how emotions are not of primary importance during decision making and that robots would eventually be able to BE human. The rebuttal was terrible unfortuantely. It just got me thinking about what it is exactly that a therpist does and why the role in our society is important. There is just something about being heard by another, being mirrored by that person, sharing a secret or exposing a fear and being met with warmth and compassion that I think speaks to our humanity. There's nothing that can replace that one on one connection, no way to fabricate it, and for that reason no life if there is no emotion. Maybe on paper it makes sense to someone that robots can eventually become functional human beings in every way... they argued that it would even be able to create things!... but I think in reality we can all see that a hug is undescribable and fills us in some way that nothing else can.
After I was done with my initial shock from hearing this proposterious proposition, I realized how wonderful and beautiful it is to be in the business of helping people to wholeness. It is something that we all need, a friend to walk with us through hard times and to nod in understanding when things don't go perfectly right.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

Robots can have emotions. Didn't you see Wall-e?