If you had a robot…

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
If you had a robot —

— it’s a general purpose domestic humanoid robot capable of doing a wide variety of tasks for you
— it communicates verbally with you perfectly, but for the sake of this hypothetical it is not (and you know it is not) sentient and definitely has no feelings

Would you be polite to it as you would a person?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Ryujin

Legend
If you had a robot —

— it’s a general purpose domestic robot capable of doing a wide variety of tasks for you
— it communicates verbally with you perfectly, but for the sake of this hypothetical. It is not (and you know it is not) sentient and definitely has no feelings

Would you be polite to it as you would a person?
Yes, because being impolite becomes habit.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
The speaking part makes me think yes. Most of my appliances I don't speak to unless they aren't working properly, but ones that I can anthropomorphize like my Roomba (when I had one) I find I bond with/treat differently. If I was speaking to the robot I definitely feel that would kick in, and in speech I generally try to be polite across the board - everyone deserves it.
 


Yora

Legend
I would set it to minimum interaction settings. It's a glorified laundry machine, it should act like a laundry machine. That is, stay in a corner in the basement except to pick up the laundry basket when it's full and to put the folded laundry in the drawers.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I get a little misty-eyed when I think of a rover on the surface of Mars singing Happy Birthday to itself in the loneliness of the thin, cold air of an empty world, so darned straight I'm going to be polite to a robot in my home.

Humans can anthropomorphize almost anything.... except maybe other humans.
 




Probably not. I don't recall ever actually thanking Alexa.
Interesting.

It would probably depend on whether or not I named it. I named my car- I take care of her, rub the dash to give her some affection and encouragement, say "thank you" when she guides me to a destination. The Alexa we were gifted sits on the counter and is routinely ignored unless we want something specific. Then it is unmuted and we talk to it. Also - "she" vs "it".
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Yes absolutely!

But I'm already polite to my car, my bike, and other devices I frequently use. It makes me feel good to treat other things with respect, whether they are conscious or not.

Then again I don't use Siri or Alexa (I still don't think there's anything a smart speaker can do that I can't do with an extra 30 seconds of work). So I don't have much experience with this sort of interaction.
 





aco175

Legend
Depends if it talks in one of those sexy accents. I favor the Australian or British, but others might find the local Boston accent favoring.
 


Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
Probably not. I don't recall ever actually thanking Alexa.

My mom does. I asked her about that, it's just out of habit because she associates voice interaction with "humans". I don't, since I don't "vocally interact" with human the same way I do with a machine (it's more efficient to phrase Alexa request in simplified speech or adapted speech, by phrasing questions in a way that would be unnecessary with a real person).

If I were confronted with an appliance that can communicate verbally perfectly, I'd probably make the same association, if only to keep the habit of thanking real persons I interact with at work (before they can be replaced by those perfect assistants and we enter an age of unending prosperity without work). And with perfect verbal interaction, it would understand that "thanks" means "put yourself into storage and energy-saving mode until I next need you again).
 
Last edited:

I would f--- with it by giving it nonsense commands because I like seeing how systems function, and then when it got confused I'd occasionally feel guilty and ask it about itself. I'd ponder what the nature of consciousness is, and whether it is cruel to create a being that will only exist on the cusp of self-awareness.
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top