Another dot in the blogosphere?

Robotic thinking

Posted on: February 26, 2019

This tweet and news article reminded me about preconceived notions we might have about robots.

What might be unclear in the tweet was that the girl in question felt overloaded with homework that required her to write the same thing repeatedly.

Relying on rote writing and subjecting people to unnecessary repetition is robotic. There is necessary repetition, e.g., in sports or emergency procedures, that builds what some call “muscle memory”.

Writing characters and essays over and over again is pointless if they are not going to be used meaningfully. But some still insist on doing this because they know no other way.

The girl thought outside the box to get a box-like robot that could write for her. The news article described the robot as being able to simulate different human writing, so she might have got away with it.

We should let some types of robots do what they do best (e.g., fast, accurate, and tireless repetition) and allow humans to do what we currently do better (e.g., imagine, opine, and reflect). We need to be unshackled from unnecessary low-level tasks so that we can focus on more worthwhile efforts.

This idea does not apply to all circumstances, just like rote tasks do not help in every eventuality.

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