Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Of Humans, Animals, and Kara

Do you guy's remember watching this video last week? This 5 minuet short film created by the french video game company Quantic Dream was a disturbingly interesting insight of the view point of a 'non-human' being that would be regarded as us humans as 'resources'. AI (Artificial Intelligence for those of you who don;t speak geek like me) technology is improving at a rapid rate, and who knows, the chances of dear Kara here existing is becoming more and more of a possibility.

Sounds cool right? A machine with an actual emotional rage of human being? Machine's today are already smarter than most of us, literally using a language made up of numbers, while a whole bunch of us have a hard time figuring out a 'simple' algebraic problem.

Now what I am doing gushing about the future emotional range of our computers on an animal blog? The thing is, Kara illustrates a really important point here. A non-human being (and yes, I consider her a being, I mean, listen to her!) with supposed 'human' characteristics such as thought, and emotion, is regarded as something that needs to be taken apart. Why is this? Could it be that as creatures with seemingly unmatched capabilities for empathy and sympathy, we can't stand the idea of 'property' standing on the same ground as us? Or is it that humans don't want to feel guilt at the idea that we subject other creatures who have the same potential for living, for feeling, as we do, to a 'life' of subjugation?

How many times do we use the excuse 'that they're not human' to justify treating other living thing badly if not cruelly. In animal shelters, we euthanize hundreds of dogs and cats on a regular basis, calling it population control. Humans had done something similar once, and it didn't go over to well with the rest of the world. Does the Holocaust ring a bell anyone?

We breed animals and send them into literal, legal death camps, and I get it, I love steak as much as the average Texan, and I'm hard pressed to become a vegetarian anytime soon, but we can't show these creatures who unwillingly feed us some respect? Temple Grandin at least understood that (if you don't know who that is, you're on the Internet so Google her). You see people who supposedly treat their pets like their own kids, yet these same people with more than gladly call someone else's dog a 'beast' if  the poor animal does something that the person doesn't like.

Do we keep animals as pets because we see human quality's? We call dogs 'loyal' and cats 'independent' (or as I like to call them snooty), giving them human characteristics for what reason? Does it make us feel better basically bending these creature's own minds (which they do) to own will by deluding ourselves into thinking that in doing so, we are giving them some of our 'humanistic' qualities?

I'm just saying, I've heard my dog yelp in pain, I've seen animals in a rage, and the term 'momma bear' does not exist for no reason. Animals do not have 'humanistic qualities' because I'm pretty sure that in mammals at least,(I've yet to study birds, reptiles, fish, etc. GO MAMMALS!)  these emotions are part of something instinctual, existing before we Homo Sapiens ever existed.

So what are we going to do if something or 'someone' like Kara comes into existence? We can't define life solely by human terms. This is a personal opinion yes, but one I think is shared by many. If any thing can perceive something as basic as fear, or understand something as simple as oh, I don't know, I WANT TO LIVE, what right do we have as fellow living creatures, to deny anything the right to at least fight for it. Or at least give them some basic form of respect before we inevitably use them for our own survival?

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