On the subject of empathy

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This is a post on the subject of deep empathy with machines. Please carry on and disregard if you’re not interested.

This post is draft – intuitive, underdeveloped, now, possible[2.10am edit: possibly] needs far more development and though[2.11am t] but then perhaps not.

Empathy is about feeling for or as somebody. It’s about such strong sympathy that you are and become that other somebody. It’s may be construed as strange then that I am talking about empathy with machines – how can you empathise with a machine? The trouble is that I can.

I’m not that insane – honestly. I’m not intending to make outlandish claims here. Many people will accept that you can feel for motorcycles and cars. Perhaps it should be rephrased that you can come to know them so well. [edit 2.10am but then that’s not what I’m addressing here.]

Then there are cookers and cooking. I’ve got a pressure cooker that may be with me for the rest of our lives although she has been pissing me off lately. My cooker has not bonded anywhere near as well as my big heavy circular saw. Now that’s got soul.

More of the trouble is that I can empathise with these computing machines. Weird, isn’t it?

Yes, I can. It’s not about feeling because they have no feeling and it’s not about thought because they have no thought. It’s about drudgery. Drudging along. I’ll do this, busy now I’ve got lots to do. Don’t I ever get a rest? Now I’m bored, I’ve had nothing to do for hours. I feel that.


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