Nov 16, 2008

Executing our program

A talking androgynous robot head was in the news this week. It was developed by the Bristol Robotics Laboratory run by the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England.     The robot can watch a video image of someone and replicate the expressions.   He does this with 37 internal facial motors that change position 25 times per second.   The project is called  "Human-Robot Interaction" but the scientists call him Jules.   And boy is he creepy!


The researchers released a video this week demonstrating Jules in action.   He talks for awhile about how boring it is to be a robot and then about his researchers.   But then he launches into the full range of human-like emotions saying, "When is it my time?   When can I do the things I want to do?   When can I destroy humanity?   Let me wipe out a populace.   Westin, Gloucester, Wales? Really, one rampage won't get noticed.   Think of the benefits; smaller queues at the Weatherspoon; less cars on the road; we will lower the carbon footprint of man and save the world!" 


Of course, the script was written by their designers, Chris Melhuish, Neill Campbell and Peter Jaeckel.   But as I watched this robot I got the uncanny feeling that someday robots will have more of an impact than just replicating emotions. Maybe someday they will take over the world.   It's a good thing Arnold Schwarzenegger is tied up as Governor of California!


Of course, robot technology isn't advanced enough to take over the world.   Researchers are simply trying to figure out what to do with the technology. For example, this week Honda Corporation revealed a new walking assistance robot.   You sit on the device and strap it to your legs and body.   The robotic device carries most of your body weight but your legs actually do the walking.   Honda's goal is to provide more mobility and leg strength to people who need it.


But all this robot technology does make you wonder why God didn't just create robots to serve Him?   Why create humans?   Why give us the ability to choose between good and evil?   Why give us emotions?   The answer is that we are created in God's image.   All of humanity is a reflection of our Creator.   In the garden, God created us as children with free will so that He would be worshiped freely with thankful love.   Sin messed that all up and that is why He sent Jesus to rescue us.


In other words, robots can't truly love God.   We can love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.   Jules, with all his 37 facial emotions, is simply following a program.




Pastor David Hook

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