A single line in this morning’s Warm-Up sparked this fascinating exposition by Ash. Here was the context:
Jay Malsky, an actor who has appeared in drag as Hillary Clinton. Melsky, while watching the Hall of Presidents attraction at Disney World, began shouting at the audio-animatronic Donald Trump. (The Huffington Post said he “mercilessly” heckled the robot, showing derangement of its own. Robots don’t need mercy, and you can’t “heckle” one either.)
Here is Ash’s Comment of the Day, primarily a quote but a perfectly chosen one, on the post, Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/30/2017: Is Robert Mueller Biased? Are The Patriots Cheating Again? Is Larry Tribe Deranged? Is President Trump A Robot?:
“Robots don’t need mercy, and you can’t “heckle” one either.”
You should date this and file it, because I guarantee you, the way you treat Siri and Alexa and Cortana and Ok Google is *already* being described as problematic.
“Sexual harassment: there are no limits…According to Dr Sweeney, research indicates virtual assistants like Siri and Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa find themselves fending off endless sexual solicitations and abuse from users. But because humans don’t (yet) attach agency or intelligence to their devices, they’re remarkably uninhibited about abusing them. Both academic research and anecdotal observation on man/machine interfaces suggest raised voices and vulgar comments are more common than not. It’s estimated that about 10% to 50% of interactions are abusive, according to Dr. Sheryl Brahnam in a TechEmergence interview late last year.
“These behaviors are simply not sustainable. If adaptive bots learn from every meaningful human interaction they have, then mistreatment and abuse become technological toxins. Bad behavior can poison bot behavior. That undermines enterprise efficiency, productivity, and culture.
“That’s why being bad to bots will become professionally and socially taboo in tomorrow’s workplace. When “deep learning” devices emotionally resonate with their users, mistreating them feels less like breaking one’s mobile phone than kicking a kitten. The former earns a reprimand; the latter gets you fired.
“Just as one wouldn’t kick the office cat or ridicule a subordinate, the very idea of mistreating ever-more-intelligent devices becomes unacceptable. While not (biologically) alive, these inanimate objects are explicitly trained to anticipate and respond to workplace needs. Verbally or textually abusing them in the course of one’s job seems gratuitously unprofessional and counterproductive.
“Crudely put, smashing your iPhone means you have a temper; calling your struggling Siri inappropriate names gets you called before HR. Using bad manners with smart technologies can lead to bad management.”