Emotions: The Easy Part

Rick Knight (rknight@platinum.com)
Wed, 13 Aug 97 09:54:03 CST

Eliezer wrote:

The stereotype of emotionless machines, therefore, is misplaced on
technological grounds. We might - I say *might* - be able to divorce
the emotional processes from the rational, and deliberately build
emotionless machines. Perhaps not. The emotions started out as
instincts; they are probably the single longest-evolved part of the
brain. So they might be so simple and physiological - so directly
programmed - as to be easily untangled. Or they might act as a
coordination center for the rest of the brain. It could go either
way; probably both.

Rick Knight responds:

As for me, I only want my computer to emote when it is reading to me.
I already have a screen saver "Pet" that gets forlorn when it is not
paid attention to. I get defensive of it when people play roughly
with it...AND IT'S A PROGRAM! A cartoon dog with some interesting
tricks. I don't want to devote one iota of emotion catering to a
desk-bound lonely CPU! <G> I have enough human CPUs and their stuff
to deal with. So, like in Star Trek:First Contact, if we can just ask
our emotional machines to switch off emotion when we deem it
convenient, that would be great. Matter of fact, if we could get our
partners to do that...just kidding..