Conscious Robots – Pecha Kucha Self-Assessment

Selecting a topic was my most challenging hurdle. Initially, I chose to research robotics and how competition can drive technology. However, the deeper I went into my research the more I realized that I could not find a way to make an argument. As a result I decided to seek help.  As I shared my research and held conversations about robotics with family and friends it occurred to me that each of them was referring to robots as tools rather than beings. So I then started asking them “Do you believe that robots are going to become as smart as humans?”, and as those conversations developed the question became, “Do you believe that robots will ever develop a consciousness?”. I spent roughly a week researching this topic and collected a vast reserve of factual and opinionated information. I knew that I wanted to highlight all the main points of what I had learned so I initially created a presentation filled with facts and data. When structuring this I wanted to strategically introduce the main counterarguments presented by  friends, family, and online resources. I took all of the doubts obstructing people from believing in robotic consciousness and tried to eliminate them by breaking down the human brain in a logical fashion and then relating it to functions of artificially intelligent programs. As I created my script I found images to help stimulate my thoughts and then chose my favorite ones for the final PowerPoint presentation. I feel satisfied with the way I used counter-arguments to bolster my own position, but would have liked to have narrowed down my topic a little bit more and perhaps mentioned more factual details.

 

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My argument hinged on the idea that our minds are a summation of the functional parts of our brain, and nothing more. It is natural for humans to believe that their ability to think and have consciousness is unexplainable and special. To change this mindset I explained how science is beginning to discover that our consciousness is derived from many functions of our minds. However, this is difficult to understand so I feel that these pictures were instrumental in that, while one related our minds to the sections of an iceberg, the other took that and put it in a human head to represent the functional parts of the brain.

 

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This picture was important in hammering home my final message. I had constructed a defense against the counter-arguments presented earlier, and so the only thing remaining was to let the audience take the information I supplied them and use it to envision the future. Words by themselves do not stick, so I chose a classic image of human evolution to represent the evolution of robots, a blue vortex to show a progression towards something while maintaining a thoughtful mindset (blue), and a question mark to instill a sense of wonderment and what could happen. By relating the evolution of mankind to robots I encouraged each person to think about the future of artificial intelligence given its new abilities to develop on its own.

 

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