THINKING, EMOTION, AND SELF-AWARENESS
it may switch the robot from seeking its destination . . . to abruptly halting . . . and slowly, carefully, backing away from the hazard or . . . retreating as quickly as possible.The robot would react in a way we recognize as fear when we see it in animals.
Similarly, Moravec postulates a doglike robotic love or loyalty, meaning that the unit could discern which of its activities especially please its human master, and would modify its behavior to keep its human happy.Anger, too, would play a role, for instance, in the behav- ior of a robot security guard. Upon detecting a human intruder, the being would move from requests for cooperation, to threats, to ag- gressive action. Carried to its logical though horrifying extreme, this scenario would resemble the scene in the film RoboCop where a po- lice robot escalates its demands so aggressively that it shoots an inno- cent bystander before he can possibly comply. That response forces the corporate executives to decide they need a cyborg cop with hu- man rather than robotic judgment.
There are obvious dangers in giving an artificial being emotions or their simulations, but surprisingly, it might also be that emotions are absolutely essential for a creature to think intelligently.As Rosalind Picard notes in her book Affective Computing:
In normal human cognition, thinking and feeling are partners. If we wish to design a device that “thinks” in the sense of mimicking a human brain, then must it also “feel?”
Picard alludes to the fact that what seems to us an ingrained and strict distinction between rational and emotional thought—with the latter often dismissed as somehow less meaningful in human cognition— seems not to represent how the brain really works.
Varied evidence, from studies of people with damage to specific areas of the brain, to data from brain scans, shows intricate connec- tions between the cortex, the part of the brain traditionally associated with rational thought, and the limbic system of the brain, parts of which are associated with the emotions. According to Antonio Damasio, whose researches and writings have been seminal in devel- oping this view, “feelings are a powerful influence on reason . . . the brain systems required by the former are enmeshed in those needed by the latter.” High-order cognitive functions can be shaped and even