Posted by: patenttranslator | January 21, 2013

Emotional and Cognitive Intelligence Is Useless When We Interact With Robots

The modern world forces people to increasingly communicate more with machines than with actual human beings. Most human bank tellers were replaced by ATM machines decades ago. Travel agents were replaced by websites. Most people, especially those who don’t understand how language works, which would be the great majority of people, believe that human translators will soon be replaced by translating machines.

Even when somebody calls you to solicit money for some worthy project such as helping children who have cancer!, a machine usually first calls many telephone numbers at the same time so that a professional fund raiser (who is eager to cajole some money out of you since he can then keep most of it) would not need to deal with voice mails and answering machines.

We now receive more robocalls, and significantly more junk e-mails, than real calls and real e-mails from people whose main purpose for contacting us is  not to scam us and steal our money.

The nightmarish vision of a world ruled by coldly calculating, unfeeling and uncaring robots, described for the first time in 1921 by the Czech writer Karel Čapek in his play R.U.R., which stands for Rossum’s Universal Robots, did not become a reality. Instead, 92 years after Čapek introduced the Czech word robot into the English language and many other languages (“robota” means “forced labor” in Czech), people are forced in their daily activities to interact with robots controlled by coldly calculating, unfeeling and uncaring humans who prefer to use robots whenever possible.

When we deal with a machine, we can’t use our intelligence to ask questions that could only be answered by another human because the machine will usually give us only 2 choices: press 1 for preapproved choice A, or 2 for preapproved choice B. This is basically how the political system works in many so called democracies. The only other choice is to hang up, or the screw-the-system option, which is becoming the preferred choice of many.

This paucity of options is built into the system by design. If you can convince people to get used to the idea that it is perfectly natural that they can only have the limited options offered to them by a robot, they will be easy to control.

If people were allowed to interact with other people instead of machines, they could use both their cognitive intelligence and their emotional intelligence to subvert and change systems that they don’t like. To prevent the possibility of such an option, we are often unable to communicate our thoughts to other humans even when we call a telephone number these days, except when it is a private number of somebody we know.

The problem with the screw-the-system option is that the system will usually try to screw us back, although sometime we will get away with it.

The problem with trying to work within the system by pleasing the robot is that the system will inevitably keep offering us fewer and fewer choices. Fewer choices means that better control is exercised by the robot owners, usually to extract money from humans who are forced to function in a system mostly through interaction with machines.

In the short term, allowing the nameless robot owners to force us to choose from a few preapproved options may be to our advantage. If we don’t vote for candidate A who appears to be slightly less despicable and slightly less lethal to us than candidate B, candidate B may win, we are told, and that would be just terrible.

Well, maybe it would. But if we don’t try to use our intelligence to subvert and change the system and remain happy with the shrinking number of options still remaining to us, we are guaranteeing that the options will keep getting worse and worse.

So I try to fight the system as best as I can. For example, when I answer my phone and a machine is on the other side of the telephone line, I hang up without listening to the message. If the message was not important enough to be communicated by a real person, it is not important enough to be listened to by a real person. Humans should be free to use machines as they please. But machines operated by anonymous humans should not be free to use humans in the same manner. That is abuse of humans by humans through machines.

It was John Fitzgerald Kennedy who said “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make bloody revolution inevitable”. And then, as if to prove that he was right, somebody killed him, and to this day we don’t know who it really was. There is the official version, but when I applied Occam’s razor to it, named after a fourteenth century English friar, my conclusion was that official version is probably false. Occam’s razor says “Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate“, which means “Plurality is not to be posited without necessity”. I am sorry, but based on medieval thinking, there appear to be too many strange pluralities in the official explanation.

Personally, I think that the second Storming of the Bastille is inevitable, regardless of how many robots are protecting it now.

I wonder whether William of Occam would agree with me.


  1. I’m not big on conspiracy theories, but I never, ever believed the Warren Commission Report. When I read Mark Lane’s “Plausible Denial,” I was convinced it was a huge cover-up. The research and collation of facts and dates seem irrefutable. Whatever the case, our country has never recovered from the assassination of JFK, Bobby, MLK, and many other civil rights leaders….


  2. “If the message was not important enough to be communicated by a real person, it is not important enough to be listened to by a real person.” That’s a great piece of advice! Saves the nerves if nothing else. 🙂


  3. Thank you for your comment.

    I have my moments, I guess.


  4. I have to say that this particular blog hit me at the right time. I have been a little frustrated trying to help certain Robotic companies see a different way. Instead of wasting valuable time and energy on a system unlikely to change, I need to focus my efforts on real intelligent reasoning people. Don’t be surprised if I come out with a blog on the subject. Often my ramblings help me to clarify my thoughts. Thanks.


    • As long as you don’t write mostly about CAT tools, which I don’t find very exciting, I will read your blog and link to it if I like it.


  5. […] The modern world forces people to increasingly communicate more with machines than with actual human beings. Most human bank tellers were replaced by ATM machines decades ago. Travel agents were re…  […]


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