Yoga and Robots

What do you think of when you hear the word robot? Roomba, R2D2, Hal? Something that can't think for itself comes to my mind, maybe no ethics. Something not alive, yet maybe it has some sort of intelligence. I recently attended a teacher training where we put together a robot, and programmed it as well. I was intrigued but not enraptured by the complex connection of small pieces over and over as a structure emerged that could carry out a variety of functions. It could roll around, sense distance through IR and ultrasound sensors, even avoid obstacles and certain surfaces. In fact, we could use a computer program to deliver a list of complex commands that it could carry out for while, til the battery ran down. Even with all this ability, I was struck by how much more complex the human mind and body are, and how we are very far from ever creating a machine that can closely mimic our dynamic organic state. Thank goodness.

Why do we create robots? To explore, work, carry out tasks impossible or distasteful to humans. Maybe wander around the moon, repetitive tasks in a factory, or other jobs that are relatively simple and dangerous. I'm not sure we as a society are asking all the important questions though, just because we can, should we? Replacing human jobs with machines might save some money, but it also puts someone out of work. Traveling to the moon and mars are fine and maybe an interesting challenge, but it costs millions of dollars and we have a huge number of problems to deal with on this planet before we start exporting humans and our civilization around the universe. Why does war drive so much research? That's a question for another day.

I noticed at the conference how people are sometimes nice to each other but often they can also be pretty confrontational, bossy, or just downright mean. Perhaps each of us has some inner work as well, before we strive to make further progress as a civilization forging out of the atmosphere. When people in Africa are being ripped out of their houses and raped, burned and tortured (as I discussed with one fellow attendee about his home country of Kenya), and other atrocities are being played out by the second, is it good for our focus to be outside this little blue planet and all our terrible problems of violence? I'm not sure. I know that yoga has helped me to be a better person and I know I still have far to go. I work hard each day to be kind, to share what I can with others, to give what I can to those that have less than I do, to teach students that weren't born with the security and love and support that I have had my whole life. I will continue to practice yoga, and give what I can, and work to be kind and considerate, without blowing small stuff out of proportion. Because honestly, most of us are so fortunate to have what we do, I believe it is our universal duty to give back.


1 comment:

E. Michelle said...

I enjoyed this post Kat. Very thoughtful. Perhaps by changing what's on the inside we can effect our external environment.

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