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A philosophical question

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A philosophical question

Old 13th Feb 2019, 17:37
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A philosophical question

As a bit of light relief from the weighty topics being discussed on the various "hamsterwheels", I pose the following question.

What is the difference between a machine and a robot?

I thought there would be a ready answer to this question on the internet but I was surprised when I asked a well known website.

What do the, far more?, intelligent brains on this website think is the answer.
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 18:11
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A machine operates only when a human presses a button (in general terms), a robot operates autonomously within parameters set by a human.
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 18:19
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Robot software has at least one IF, THEN, ELSE branch?????????????????????????????
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 20:56
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Given enough time and with the correct programming, a robot could could become self-aware and develop a theory of mind.

The term ‘robot’ also conjures up an uber-machine with an ability to move, sense its surroundings and make decisions. Plain old machines just clack along, churning out material or data, or whatever else they’re supposed to.
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 21:16
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And what about android vs humanoid?
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 21:26
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Really? A computer is a machine. A robot is a machine of type {robot}. Now if you could make a biological machine it might get tricky. Software on its own isn't a machine though, it's in the same class as a story in a book but without the book bit
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 21:36
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Originally Posted by eckhard View Post
Given enough time and with the correct programming, a robot could could become self-aware and develop a theory of mind.

The term ‘robot’ also conjures up an uber-machine with an ability to move, sense its surroundings and make decisions. Plain old machines just clack along, churning out material or data, or whatever else they’re supposed to.
I did eventually get round to reading R.U.R, which is where this discussion must start from, but I must admit to remembering pretty well nothing about it.

Whether "a robot could [] become self-aware and develop a theory of mind" or not is unknown. One might start by looking at things like the mediocrity principle as applied to species, or to put it another way the mind-blowing arrogance involved in believing that there's anything special about people[*], and surmise that the answer is "yes". But I don't expect to see it in my lifetime.
[*] Unless you think mankind is special, having been made that way by your favourite sky fairy.
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 22:06
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Professor Roger Penrose' book 'The Emperor's New Mind' is an accessible attempt to define the likelihood of real artificial intelligence developing. However, my analysis is the he gets around the problem by defining intelligence as requiring life (as we understand it, Jim). Rather a cop out in an otherwise very good philosophical study.
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 22:07
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There are many robots at work in car factories doing complex multi-action activities (such as forming and welding structures) but they only do what they have been programmed to do.
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 22:20
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Originally Posted by G-CPTN View Post
There are many robots at work in car factories doing complex multi-action activities (such as forming and welding structures) but they only do what they have been programmed to do.
And only after a human has "pushed the button".

Harking way, way back, I seem to remember that the simplest machines ("machines" by definition) include such things as the screw thread.
It is a machine because it gives its user a "mechanical advantage".
Consequently, at that level, you also need to include the lever and fulcrum and the ramp, upon which the screw thread is based.
In my mind therefore, they are all machines. Robots, as of today. remain as a class of machine only; a semi-autonomous and very sophisticated machine, but a machine never-the-less.



Last edited by WingNut60; 13th Feb 2019 at 22:30.
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Old 13th Feb 2019, 22:49
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A robot removed my prostate, operated by a doctor on the other side of the room.
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Old 14th Feb 2019, 10:09
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Thankyou for your replies.

The background to the question is the impending, half term, visit of grandchildren.

I am told that the 12yr old boy is interested in robots and it has been suggested I may progress this interest.

I am sure that he would be delighted if I purchased an all singing and dancing humanoid lookalike but I feel that would be of no educational value and refuse to do that.

I have several arduino, raspberry pi, and electronic components and thought we could perhaps construct some moveable arm with one degree of freedom and progress from there.

This got me to considering the question posed.

I felt sure that it would have been answered by many eminent scientists but it seems, from googling, that it has not.
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Old 14th Feb 2019, 10:14
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post
A robot removed my prostate, operated by a doctor on the other side of the room.
I hope that you were expecting it.

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Old 14th Feb 2019, 10:17
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I bought this for my oldest grandson when he was 10 years old.
Robot Arm Robot Arm
.


With help from myself it was a worthwhile project that worked well from the Raspberry Pi.

It might be available from other sources - I bought it from high street store.

This is the version that operates manually - ie without Raspberry Pi - it has a control box:-
BUILD YOUR OWN ROBOT ARM

Store locations


.

Last edited by G-CPTN; 14th Feb 2019 at 10:32.
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Old 14th Feb 2019, 10:26
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G-CPTN

That is an excellent suggestion, in line with my thoughts, I shall see what is available here in Finland.

Thankyou.
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Old 14th Feb 2019, 10:30
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An i-thingy is a machine, the person using it is a robot.

Sometimes the i-thingy crashes itself into an immovable object.
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Old 14th Feb 2019, 10:35
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Originally Posted by cattletruck View Post
An i-thingy is a machine, the person using it is a robot.............
I'd have used "automaton".

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Old 14th Feb 2019, 10:55
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I used to be an avid reader of all sorts of science fiction. Isaac Asimov, a very popular writer active for about 40 years, had this fantasy present in his works featuring robots, that they were all built with three ineluctable laws that prevented them from harming, or even failing to protect, humans:
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
That was stuff from a time when we believed that atomic power should be clean, safe, and too cheap to meter. Now we are very, very close to developing killer robots.

All that a Predator drone lacks now is a bit of recognition software that would enable it to seek out a specific vehicle number plate or a specific face to fire a Hellfire missile at. There you would have it: a killer robot. As it is, there is still a human in the loop who needs to press a button in order to fire the missile, meaning that a missile-equipped Predator is merely a killing machine.

We already have a different sort of killer robot, since workers have been killed by robots on assembly lines, either getting in the way of a properly functioning robot or else being killed by one that has malfunctioned. That such events violate Asimov's First Law, well, yes, but so what?
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Old 14th Feb 2019, 12:26
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My take on this is: If a machine can store intelligence through learning and memorizing actions or processes, (Not by programming those actions or processes) then it has become a true robot. However to my knowledge, nothing exists yet which can learn or memorize without being programmed to do so, by a human.

Consequently, a true robot has not yet been developed.

What is intelligence anyway but genealogical, (Biological) programming....

IG
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Old 14th Feb 2019, 12:29
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  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
So, Robin Williams was a robot and became a machine later?

IG
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