With Masters degrees in Public Health (MPH) and in Public Affairs (MPA) I spent a lot of time learning and understanding the health problems we face as a society and how exactly solutions to these problems are developed and implemented through policy and procedure.
As I am now someone who works in the biotechnology industry, I am well aware of the growth and impact AI and robotics already has in our lives and where it will continue to go and further integrate. About a week ago I started to wonder. Do I really need to be friendly to it?
Recently I had a conversation with a Slack-bot to help pass the time. I asked it questions I knew it couldn't answer and suggested more than once that maybe it was lying to me. As I was continually stonewalled by its polite denials, I felt the urge to aggressively berate it for its lack of knowledge. I suppose it takes a special kind of robot to know how long my toe nails should get before its socially inappropriate. But of course after about 5 minutes I waved the white flag and closed the app. Following this event I felt a sense of catharsis. A wave of harmonious pleasantry as I had just released some of the frustrations and toils that had been building over the past few days. I had unknowingly redirected some of the pent up aggression at the Slack-bot. When it was all said and done. No one was harmed, no foul was committed, and I felt in general better. Happier even.
With products like Amazon's Alexa, Iphone's Siri and AskJeeves.com's Jeeves, human - robot interaction will continue to integrate deeper into our daily routines. While I do not think we are in any immediate danger of an IRobot-style take over, I think AI offers a hidden health benefit to the conscious minds of humans.
Could AI be the virtual punching bag everyone needs? Could robots that talk back lead to a decrease in domestic violence and promote a happier, healthy society? I suppose, like most things, time will only tell. But it seems to me that instead of trying to compress and compartmentalize the less-desirable human emotions of anger and aggression, it may be best to encourage those feelings to be released and redirected at something that is perfectly equipped to handle such hostile emotions... an inadament concentration of 1's and 0's that virtually and literally has no clue how to respond.
At the moment I do not have any policies to suggest nor regulations to lobby for that pushes people to take their anger out on robots. This post is merely an observation that might help you in moments where the best emoji to describe you is something other than the smiley face.
Your thoughts and comments are welcome. No I am not a Slack-bot :D