Functionality of Biology and Robotics
Updated: May 6
To be frank, some of you may not agree with my recent thoughts, but I think biology can be defined as "organic machinery", and insects, animals, and people as "organic automatons". These thoughts may, at least in this century, cause some unease, if not some disturbance, to be compared to machines, but what else are we, if not machines that are capable of judgment and independent thought?
You may think that we are far more complex than machines, which might be true, but remember that humanity might create machines in the future that are as capable, in every way, as humans, if not even better. A calculator may not have emotions, but it is reasonable to assume that in the future there could be automated robots that have both emotional capability and the ability to think.
If at all, machines could be far better than humans in, theoretically, any field of capability possible to us. They might currently be exclusive to very specific fields, but as we advance in our robotics as a species, we could reach a state where a robot could be even more "human" than actual humans, if that makes sense.
Who's to say robots will never be able to feel emotions, to think, and to communicate like any other human being? What if biological reproduction will be unnecessary as there would be factories that would create the next "batch" of humans, in non-biological form? The fact that we are far more complex than a robot right now doesn't mean no robots will ever be as complex—and even sentient—as us.
What is emotion, after all? It is a function, like any other function in humans and animals. It is triggered when something happens, or when the mind generates it through thought. Who's to say robots will never be able to feel? If a coding expert creates a script, for example, that is as psychologically similar to ours in regards to emotion, then it is technically possible that one day robots would feel, or at least be able to imitate the exact experience of feelings.
It all starts with our brain, for our brain is the most important thing that defines who we are. It is so complex that there are still mysteries that surround it, like why do we dream, or why do we have consciousness? Technically, the engineering of such a miraculous organ in non-organic form could be possible as well.
Who's to say a brain has to be made out of biological substance only? Why can't a brain be made out of metal, or aluminum, and so on? Functions, in the end, are not mutually exclusive to the same material they are made from, as other materials could also make them. It's like legs—legs don't have to be made of flesh in order to work; they can be made out of non-organic material as well. Why then, does it have to be the same with the brain?
The creation of robotic counterparts to us, or "androids", can have a serious impact on our way of life. Should robotic "clones" of ourselves be theoretically possible to be made (even if not currently), then countless employees would be unnecessary in their jobs as they can have alternatives which can be far better than human workers. I'm not talking exclusively about menial jobs, but also jobs that are currently impossible to be done as competently as a human could. I'm talking about doctors, judges, psychologists, and so on. Hell, if robots could behave and operate like humans, we wouldn't even need friends, or romantic partners.
The creation of such a world is both fascinating and terrifying. On the one hand, it would mean that we would have access to an almost limitless supply of labor and resources. On the other hand, it would mean that we would be at the mercy of machines that are far more intelligent and powerful than us. It is a question that we will have to answer sooner or later. I can tell you that in Japan some people are already married to fictional entities in the form of holograms that can talk back to you. For those who are into "Anime" (Japanese-styled animation) it is even technically possible to marry characters from said genre.
If we will ever be able to replicate humans (not necessarily clones of specific individuals), then the company of other people won't be as necessary, even if said replicas can fulfill the role of others with similar, if not superior, competency. It also means that one day we might be required to give robots the same rights as humans if their sentience and functionality could parallel that of a human, and thus create a new "race" of "humans". Call them androids, or pseudo-humans, or even "metal people", but in the end, they will have to be regarded as much as a human being if we are to ever reach the same level of robotics that matches the complexity of our own biology.
The "ultimate" problem with this theory is the claim that we humans have something that robots will never have, and that is this mysterious component called a "soul". What is a soul? It is a natural, divine, and immortal organ that we all supposedly have, but what necessity does it have if the idea of biology as "organic machinery" is technically rational? Even if you believe in theism or creationism, then the god/s you believe in could be indeed regarded as some kind of robotic engineers, only that they chose to make "robots" out of organic materials and not synthetic ones.
Why does the idea of "consciousness" even matter when every action can be regarded as a function; a function as similar to any code or script that you write in a computer, and something happens as a result? It's only that this universe is but a one, extremely complex set of scripts, written by scientific, mathematical, and biological rules.
Does it matter that I can experience the act of walking when I walk, when a machine can walk as well as I do? The possible but controversial conclusion to that is that the terms "consciousness" and "soul" do not matter, when everything—including us—are automated. What if when we create a "metal person", they actually have the capacity of having the similar "consciousness" we have, based on a metallic brain that is the same as our own?
The most simple comparison between nature and machinery could be delivered by serving music as an example. Does a song or melody have to be "organic" in order to be good? Can't electronic music be as good as music played by natural instruments such as a guitar or flute? Your answers may vary, but I think I can testify that things don't have to be natural in order to be just as good, if not better. A musical melody doesn't have to have a "soul" put into it in order to be sound and composed as beautifully as any other genre of music ever created by humankind thus far.
The specific material, therefore, is unnecessary, when the same functionality can be developed with different kinds of materials. Since it could be the same in music—why can't it be true in any other field? Here is what I think is the most "human" electronic music I've ever heard thus far in my life:
...But beforehand, remember that there are technically such "robots" in human form, or at least the closest thing there is to an actual robot of human capacity -- cyborgs, which are humans that have robotic parts. You could call them hybrids, but I am not sure if such classification would be offensive or not.