Hello everyone, it's been a while. I've been busy doing lots of things, including writing. I am writing a science fiction story now that will include humans grown and raised by robots, more or less.
The humans in question would have little or nothing to do with any of our societies, and would not even have any of the non-human elements we carry with us like gut bacteria, dust mites, or any other organic matter not created by machines. This would make them more purely human than we are, and I'll have fun playing with that concept.
However, I am twisting my head around a bit regarding the ideologies that my new humans would espouse, as well as race issues, and some other issues.
So, please tell me what you think would happen if around 120 humans were brought up together all at once from zygotes. If they were all the same race, what would happen as they became adults? If they were many races, what would happen? Would they try to worship something, or would the robots give them enough information to answer questions that might avoid the easy answer of a deity? What if there were more females than males, or vice versa? What if I staged them to be born at different times?
As the most rational people I am exposed to, I value your input. I am trying to write this with a minimum of flights of fancy.
They would maybe be childlike emotionally, but with increased intelligence, learning from past human mistakes. We know evolution depends on environment. I'd like to see a film like this, with a perfect blend of technology & nature. Perhaps bio robots? bringing up the perfect humans. Considered children in every sense. Say they grew up on a space station or on another planet. And earth was kept precious so they can go live there as adults, when they had the knowledge to live in peace & look after it. Being sent out into the wilderness like a 'coming of age'. The only thing they fear is nature itself, but not each other....because they know they all came from the same lab.
I have some questions for you, Melvinotis.
We know that human children (and many mammalian children) suffer when not given loving attention in their formative years.
First, CAN a robot treat a growing child with love? Is a simulation of love as good as real love? How would a robot provide love?
Children need the wisdom of elders even if they rebel against it during their formative years. Often, they adopt that same wisdom later on when they realize their elders were right and their advice was good.
But how does one build a wise computer? Or will the story simply posit that this problem has been solved prior to the voyage?
I'm sorry if some of these questions have been addressed already. I haven't read through all of the other posts.
There is some interesting research about how people respond to objects when the objects are given the ability to respond and take risks. In short, I think with direction of current thought on the subject, a robot will be able to provide "love", whether or not it is as good as real love will be worthy of exploration.
I agree that wisdom is needed, but the question for the future is whether wisdom is just an elevated form of information. So if the children are brought up with the best we have to offer
The children in my fiction will be "loved". The hard part for me is that they are separated from all human culture, good and bad. And there is so much good and so much bad. If I leave them to their own devices, just giving them some structures that help them deal with scarce resources, I expect them to devise a wholly unforeseen way of living (which I will have to come up with). Maybe they'll be polyamorous, maybe they'll find some distinguishing physical feature that becomes a precursor to "race" of a sort.
So what are we when the nature vs. nurture has the nurture side of the equation diminished to near zero? I am thinking that even with information there will be savagery, or what we might perceive as savagery. Hugh Howey explores some of this in his books Wool, Shift, and Dust. (very interesting reads by the way).
Self learning computers have some inherent wisdom, I would tend to think. The questions are what defines the parameters of the wisdom they can achieve.
The children will be loved? In other words, the robots will actually have an irrational concern for the welfare of the children? Will this love be actual love or a simulation of love depending upon the ability of the children to be deceived?
The questions are what defines the parameters of the wisdom they can achieve.
Life experience; learning from mistakes; knowing one's limitations vs working to achieve something. Does a computer programmer or designer know how to build those things in?
Here's an interestingarticle on gut bacteria. I find this paragraph particularly interesting:
Microbes may have their own evolutionary reasons for communicating with [our] brain. They need us to be social, says John Cryan, a neuroscientist at University College Cork in Ireland, so that they can spread through the human population. Cryan's research shows that when bred in sterile conditions, germ-free mice lacking in intestinal microbes also lack an ability to recognize other mice with whom they interact. In other studies, disruptions of the microbiome induced mice behavior that mimics human anxiety, depression and even autism. In some cases, scientists restored more normal behavior by treating their test subjects with certain strains of benign bacteria.
Thanks Pope, that was a great article!
Breastfeeding is a particularly important behavior (and connected at animal reflex levels) to first experience empathy and social bonding.
Theme-wise, I think socialization is particularly ripe for rumination. IMO, for decades now networking has been a consistently underestimated field, since even before social networking became common parlance. (Altho Star Trek's Borg now comes to mind.)
I can imagine--also with added potential for sequels, if desired-- different spaceships with different conditions and experiments and outcomes. They've also headed out in different directions, and communicate their successes and failures with each other, albeit with increasing delay between each communication.