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Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Good Pleo/Bad Pleo! - The BBC puts Pleo to the "nature vs. nurture" test

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The BBC recently created a humorous video where they put Pleo in a nature vs. nurture style test. More tongue-in-cheek than scientific, they hatched Pleo twice and raised him in two starkly different manners. In the first, they are dutiful doting parents to our beloved dino, offering strong parental psychological support and kindness. In the second they are neglectful harsh parents that refuse to give Pleo a second helping of Christmas Pudding no matter how much he cries. Then they show the dramatic difference in Pleo's happiness and self-esteem between the two upbringings in a fashion that would make even the great Charles Dickens uncomfortable: "Please sir, I want some more!".

The funniest part of the video is when you see how the actors struggle to be mean to Pleo in the "bad upbringing" segment, especially when compared to the kissing, petting, stroking behavior they helplessly exhibit in the "good upbringing" segment of the video. The test was done as part of their intriguing The elements of your smarter home article where they talk about some of the technologies that will affect our day to day lives at home in the near future. Follow this link to the article and at the top you will see a video player for the Pleo segment. Warning: video contains mild scenes of anti-Pleo behavior, quite tepid actually.
The movie just broke my heart. Man, the last part really makes you wanne come to the rescue. That poor thing... It is good to experience this feeling, refreshing even. The fact that I feel REALLY sorry for a "robotic toy"(no offense), prepares me for the ethical question of the future, wheter or not AI equipped robots have rights. I for one have already made up my mind.
I think in the next decade, mankind will develop robots or computers with an AI level that is so close to perfection, that in my opinion we can speak of real feelings and emotions. I will vote for the rights of robots. (***of to call animal rescue to take care of Pleo***)
I won't watch the video because I can't bear to see anyone intentionally mean to Pleo. Although I was very interested in the response. I want Pleo to be programmed to go for the jugular if harmed. lol.

a/k/a Maggie
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