Mentally Disordered Robots

Nadine Roestenburg
December 19th 2016

Whenever you are feeling sad, your modem is always there to support you. It connects you to the Internet, lets you search your symptoms on Google, helps you find a psychiatrist, connects you to support groups, or facilitates a Skype connection with a friend for some advice. But have you ever wondered about the mental condition of your modem?

While robots are becoming more and more human, with all their sensors and information processing abilities, may it be likely that they too could develop mental illnesses? Sci-fi movies like The Terminator and Chappie, might make you fear that machines without empathy will take over the world. But as computers are being trained to get moral sense, and implemented with sensors that makes them feel pain, will their depression rate increase as well?

Designer and former Next Nature intern Erik van der Even reflects on these questions. His speculative graduation project Can a Robot have a Mental Disorder? makes you wonder. If you look at these modems, do you care for them? Or are you not human enough to sympathize with your always-available devices? Give your modem a hug today! It might make them feel better.

Story via KABK and VPRO. Image via KABK

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