What is your opinion on humanoid robots

How many people can it be? About the pros & cons of humanoid robots.

When it comes to robots, opinions quickly differ. Everyone agrees that they can be helpful. You lift and move heavy loads, weld and paint without a break, and need neither clean air nor radiation protection. So we are grateful if we can send a robot instead of a firefighter into a burning building to rescue those looking for help. The appearance of the robots, on the other hand, is already being debated. Should it be functional like a machine or should it be human-like?

David Hanson, inventor of Sophia, probably the most famous humanoid robot, has a clear opinion on this. He considers the socialization of robots to be a crucial factor. We should treat them as family members and treat them as such. For him, this approach is simply pragmatic self-protection from beings who may one day be much more intelligent and superior to us. Who wants them to repay like for like and treat us just as badly as we did them before?

Terms like “Master and Slave” should be put aside quickly. “Most robots and AIs don't look human. In fact, my concern is that they will not grow up in human families. You won't really understand us. So making robots look like humans allows us to better teach them to understand us so that we can create more valuable AI that can really help us. "

In a stringent implementation of this line of thought, David Hanson wants to bring "Little Sophia", a small humanoid robot, onto the market. He is supposed to teach children to code and arouse their interest in robots. Funding is currently running through the Kickstarter online donation platform.

Other scientists are also investigating the question: How should robots be designed so that people can interact with them as well as possible? According to the robot psychologist Martina Mara, for example, it is not beneficial for robots to look particularly cute. So with big eyes and a snub nose. She recommends that they be clearly identifiable as machines. Robots have clear functions and would also help to make the social debate more objective again. Away from scary sci-fi scenarios to considerations of what functions robots should have to help us humans. (Interview with Martina Mara)

The philosopher Julian Nida-Rümelin is also against humanoid robots, "so that we are not even tempted to set in motion projections (author's note: we have a human counterpart) that endanger the whole further development". A robot must be built in such a way that it can perform its function well. Then the impression doesn't even arise that he can be human in any way, he said on Deutschlandfunk. For me, if the function of stability is called for, eight legs are needed instead of two. So spider instead of human.

Robot ethicist Oliver Bendel is just as critical. People developed feelings for these machines very quickly. “We love the robot. But he doesn't love us. He may pretend, but he doesn't care about us. "

Realistically speaking, it must be said that we are still a long way from really human-like robots, so-called androids. This could be used to dismiss the discussion about their appearance as l’art pour l’art, i.e. pure thought. I wouldn't agree with that. It is important to think about it now and to set the framework.

The European Union takes a similar view. The draft ethical guidelines states: “Androids can be viewed as covert AI systems because they are robots that are built as human-like as possible. Their inclusion in human society could change our perception of people and humanity. It must be taken into account that the confusion between man and machine has a variety of consequences, such as attachment, influence or diminution of the value of being human. The development of humanoid and android robots should therefore be subjected to a careful ethical assessment. "

In other words, no matter how humanoid the robot may be in the future, it must always be recognizable as a machine. Telekom formulated it similarly in its self-binding guidelines for the use and handling of AI last year. Guideline number four is about transparency. It also stipulates that it must be clearly visible to people when they are communicating with a machine. So that's a clear 'no' to humanoid robots when the state of the art will one day be so advanced that perfect androids can be built.

I think that's a good thing!