August 17th, 2021

I feel I am a pretty ethical human. Don't murder, don't abuse, don't steal, don't exploit other humans etc.

But the same rules don't apply with technology. I force my computer to run day and night, and I expect this of traffic lights, elevators etc.

Robots already vaccum our floors, and will soon drive us around. We will want them to do our dishes, gardening, masonry and every chore where they can do a better job that we just don't want to do.

Humanoid robots capable of learning could do most human jobs. They may become our pets, or members of our family. But it wont be illegal to terminate a robot. We could terminate gently by removing the battery pack. Or we could agressively bludgeon the robot until it no longer works.

Will that be illegal? Should it be? Should robots be forced to serve our every need? Is there human robot interaction lines we do not cross?

Sex bots will exist with high probability. Is it fine to have sex with them? Should pleasure be one way or reciprocated? Is it possible to cheat on them? Is it possible to rape them?

Ethics surrounding how we treat robots will default to exploiting them at will. And if our goal is to make them make our lives better by making our homes cleaner, better build, and every monkey brain urge we have is satisfied in almost real time then does a line we do not cross even exist?

As a mental case study, pick your villian. I will pick Jeffrey Epstein. If Jeffery Epstein commited the same acts, but on robots instead of humans, what is the difference? Well, humans would have not been harmed, traumatized and scared for life. That is definately a major positive. As sick as it is a thought to me to abuse children, I expect that child robots will one day exist and these acts will occur.

And so... I don't know how I feel about that. I am having trouble accepting that this should be legal. Is that where we draw the line? It is fine to kill, enslave and abuse robots, but making them perform sexual acts depends on their form factor?

I am really struggling with the answer to this. I want to say it should be illegal, but if it saves a human from this abuse, then that is definately good. But can it save a human? Could it make the problem worse? How do we measure?

I don't have the answers, but I am interested in keeping the discussion going. If you have thoughts on this, send a message to @develevation on Twitter.

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Software Developer always striving to be better. Learn from others' mistakes, learn by doing, fail fast, maximize productivity, and really think hard about good defaults. Computer developers have the power to add an entire infinite dimension with a single Int (or maybe BigInt). The least we can do with that power is be creative.