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  • ??? Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!

    This thread requires a modicum of effort and I realize that may already present too high of a hurdle but I'll try to streamline the effort for those with a bit of interest.

    This thread was inspired by the Jan 5th podcast of New Scientist. While the whole episode is good I wanted to call attention to Sherry Turkle's presentation which had some commentary on robots, questions about the purpose of living things and the part that I'd specifically encourage people to listen to (minutes 14:52 (or -15:17) to 19:50); a discussion on the use of therapeutic robots (5 minutes--you can do it!).

    I'm quite interested in hearing people's opinions.
    Last edited by Jon Newman; 03-02-2007, 04:01 AM.
    "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris

  • #2
    I've had some correspondence with Dr. Turkle and she steered me to this essay which is a fuller account of what is heard in the podcast.

    Comments still welcome.
    "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris

    Comment


    • #3
      First take: robots who act like humans freeing up humans to act more like robots.
      Diane
      www.dermoneuromodulation.com
      SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
      HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
      Neurotonics PT Teamblog
      Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
      Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
      @PainPhysiosCan
      WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
      @WCPTPTPN
      Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

      @dfjpt
      SomaSimple on Facebook
      @somasimple

      "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

      “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

      “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

      "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

      "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Diane,

        Thanks for the comment. For those that don't recognize what the title is in reference to, it is from the movie The Day The Earth Stood Still.

        I hadn't realized that this was adapted from the book, Farewell to the Master written by Edmund H. North. Nor did I realize that in the book the twist at the end (shield your eyes if you don't want to know how the book ended) is captured this way

        I want you to tell your master — the master yet to come — that what happened to the first Klaatu was an accident, for which all Earth is immeasurably sorry. Will you do that?"

        "I have known it," the robot answered gently.

        "But will you promise to tell your master — just those words — as soon as he is arrived?"

        "You misunderstand," said Gnut, .... "I am the master."
        This seems to echo your first take. I should point out that Gnut is the name of the robot later known as Gort in the movie.

        My first take was to wonder if the programers of therapeutic robots "get" something that many physical therapists don't.
        Last edited by Jon Newman; 03-02-2007, 01:42 AM.
        "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris

        Comment


        • #5
          My first take was to wonder if the programers of therapeutic robots "get" something that many physical therapists don't.
          Yes.. I think your first take and mine are congruent.
          Diane
          www.dermoneuromodulation.com
          SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
          HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
          Neurotonics PT Teamblog
          Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
          Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
          @PainPhysiosCan
          WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
          @WCPTPTPN
          Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

          @dfjpt
          SomaSimple on Facebook
          @somasimple

          "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

          “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

          “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

          "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

          "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

          Comment


          • #6
            While I encourage people to consider the essay in its entirety, or take 5 minutes to listen to the podcast, I'll also try to highlight at least one aspect of the essay that asked particularly interesting questions.

            I find the children’s position unsettling. ‘If you put in a robot instead of the live turtle, do you think people should be told that the turtle is not alive?’ I ask. Not really, several of the children say. Data on ‘aliveness’ can be given out on a need to know basis. But when do we need to know if something is alive?

            Consider another moment: a woman in a nursing home outside Boston is sad. Her son has broken off his relationship with her. Her nursing home is taking part in a study I am conducting on robotics for the elderly. I am recording the woman’s reactions as she sits with the robot Paro, a seal-like creature advertised as the first ‘therapeutic robot’ for its ostensibly positive effects on the ill, the elderly and the emotionally troubled. Paro is able to make eye contact by sensing the direction a human voice is coming from; it is sensitive to touch, and has ‘states of mind’ that are affected by how it is treated – for example, it can sense whether it is being stroked gently or more aggressively. In this session with Paro, the woman, depressed because of her son’s abandonment, comes to believe that the robot is depressed as well. She turns to Paro, strokes him and says: ‘Yes, you’re sad, aren’t you. It’s tough out there. Yes, it’s hard.’ And then she pets the robot once again, attempting to provide it with comfort. And in so doing, she tries to comfort herself.

            What are we to make of this transaction? When I talk to others about it, their first associations are usually with their pets and the comfort they provide. I don’t know whether a pet could feel or smell or intuit some understanding of what it might mean to be with an old woman whose son has chosen not to see her anymore. But I do know that Paro understood nothing. The woman’s sense of being understood was based on the ability of computational objects like Paro – ‘relational artefacts’, I call them – to convince their users that they are in a relationship by pushing certain ‘Darwinian’ buttons (making eye contact, for example) that cause people to respond as though they were in relationship. Relational artefacts are the new uncanny in our computer culture – as Freud put it, ‘the long-familiar taking a form that is strangely unfamiliar’.

            Confrontation with the uncanny provokes new reflection. Do plans to provide children and the elderly with relational robots make us less likely to look for other solutions for their care? If our experience with relational artefacts is based on a fundamentally deceitful interchange – the artefacts’ ability to persuade us that they know of and care about our existence – can it be good for us? Or might it be good for us in the ‘feel good’ sense, but bad for us in a moral sense? What does it say about us? What kind of people are we becoming as we develop increasingly intimate relationships with machines?
            When I read this I find myself wandering in thought over to some of the posts in the manual magic thread.
            "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris

            Comment


            • #7
              This last paragraph within your quote Jon is what I based my earlier post on. I remember vividly how the movie AI got to me. The first half anyway, before the little silver beings appeared to indulge the child robot's fantasy.
              Additional thoughts.
              Do plans to provide children and the elderly with relational robots make us less likely to look for other solutions for their care?
              Less likely to look inside ourselves for ways to respond, mostly, I think..
              If our experience with relational artefacts is based on a fundamentally deceitful interchange – the artefacts’ ability to persuade us that they know of and care about our existence – can it be good for us?
              Not in terms of promoting personal or therapeutic integration/integrity.
              Or might it be good for us in the ‘feel good’ sense, but bad for us in a moral sense?
              I'm not sure what sort of "moral" the author is trying to specify.
              What does it say about us? What kind of people are we becoming as we develop increasingly intimate relationships with machines?
              I'm sure we're already functional cyborgs. I doubt I could live without my coffee maker.

              As a PT I would like to see the PT profession move away from the high-tech approach, generally. I've always felt that we got turned into treatment "robots" instead of taught how to elicit/augment our own humanist responsiveness to peoples' illness behaviors (as defined by Cassell). And we're in nowhere as bad a shape on this front as our medical colleagues are IMO.
              Diane
              www.dermoneuromodulation.com
              SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
              HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
              Neurotonics PT Teamblog
              Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
              Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
              @PainPhysiosCan
              WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
              @WCPTPTPN
              Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

              @dfjpt
              SomaSimple on Facebook
              @somasimple

              "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

              “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

              “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

              "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

              "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

              Comment


              • #8
                Digerati is available as an online text from The Edge and contains a chapter from Turkle. Big topic Jon, I've got lots of reading to do now...

                Eric
                Eric Matheson, PT

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Jon,
                  A recent Scientific American has an article by Bill Gates about how he sees robotics being incorporated into daily life in the near future. To give you a preview of what it says, it is entitled "A Robot in Every Home."

                  Hearing about the bedside Seal I was reminded of Barrett's essay about Cast Away and specifically about the volleyball Wilson.

                  I think that these robots and any effect they may appear to have on us is merely a reflection of ourselves and how we can creatively express ourselves through another. It is an example of the power of creativity within us.

                  The loss with this rise in robotic "care" will likely be in the creative interaction between 2 or more creative organisms and their nervous systems.

                  A rise in "convenient solutions to every day living" (from Tyler Durden in Fight Club) could rob us of every day living. I think that is the point Tyler was making with that statement actually.
                  Cory Blickenstaff, PT, OCS

                  Pain Science and Sensibility Podcast
                  Leaps and Bounds Blog
                  My youtube channel

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Cory,

                    Wilson would be much more akin to a "transitional object" as described by Turkle. They are rather passive, really only allowing one to project meaning onto them. On the other hand Paro is termed a "relational artefact". The difference being that relational artefacts actively push "'Darwinian' buttons that cause people to respond as though they were in relationship".

                    She states "If [future robots] can give the appearance of aliveness and yet not disappoint, they may have an advantage over human beings as a kind of 'spare part', and open new possibilities for narcissistic experience with machines. From this point of view, relational artefacts make a certain amount of sense as successors to the always more resistant human material."

                    I often note that demented or cognitively impaired patients at our hospital are provided with some sort of "transitional object" (usually dolls) and we also have "therapy dogs". It seems that the "therapy dogs" generate much more of a response than the transitional objects.

                    I wonder how therapeutic robots would be if they were programmed to enforce a particular behavior within a limited time frame.

                    I'll have to check out Fight Club sometime.
                    Last edited by Jon Newman; 04-02-2007, 01:44 AM.
                    "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think this link belongs here on this thread.
                      Diane
                      www.dermoneuromodulation.com
                      SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
                      HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
                      Neurotonics PT Teamblog
                      Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
                      Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
                      @PainPhysiosCan
                      WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
                      @WCPTPTPN
                      Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

                      @dfjpt
                      SomaSimple on Facebook
                      @somasimple

                      "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

                      “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

                      “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

                      "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

                      "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've heard recently of how robots are increasingly being used in therapy in Japan. Here's one article of many on the topic.
                        Eric Matheson, PT

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Diane,

                          Your post reminded me of a recent waiting room conversation I had with someone. He's a member of the US Power Squadrons and was preparing to give a lecture to some of the membership. He conveyed that they were struggling with membership and that those participating were, well not young. The current marketing department seemed to struggling to attract the new crew of participants and he was hoping to convince them to change strategy but was unsure how. He said that his generation were "joiners" and the usual stuff worked but today's generation was...he pauses and then offers... "hedonistic".
                          "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Here's a picture of "Paro".
                            I'm reminded of teddy bears and so on, how they substitute for parental attention.

                            The classic psychotherapist demeanor is to be completely attentive (eye contact) and responsive (slight appropriate listening movements), but not reactive. In other words, a still pool in which the patient can see themselves reflected optimally. A perfectly downregulated talk therapist is sort of "non-human", come to think of it.. Maybe these robots will have a market, providing non-interventionist reflective therapeutic contact to replace actual therapists who have burned out or who have popped a gasket themselves from all the allostatic load.

                            I don't think they'll replace hands-on therapy though.. only another nervous system can keep up with all the changes as they occur.
                            Diane
                            www.dermoneuromodulation.com
                            SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
                            HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
                            Neurotonics PT Teamblog
                            Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
                            Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
                            @PainPhysiosCan
                            WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
                            @WCPTPTPN
                            Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

                            @dfjpt
                            SomaSimple on Facebook
                            @somasimple

                            "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

                            “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

                            “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

                            "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

                            "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Diane or others,

                              What do you think about using the robots with people who don't understand that that which they are interacting with is not alive? For example, what if Paro is used with someone with advanced dementia who is unable to appreciate that Paro in not alive? Or as Sherry Turkle asks in her essay, "...when do we need to know if something is alive?" Does it matter?

                              I think this is becoming an increasingly important question as, culturally, we are increasing our willingness to be deceived in this manner while we simultaneously improve the ability of robots to deceive.
                              "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris

                              Comment

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