The Instigator
Con (against)
2 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
10 Points

Advanced artificial intelligence simulating human behavior should be programmed into robots.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/13/2011 Category: Technology
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,202 times Debate No: 16498
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)




Basic Rules and Agreements:
1. No vulgar, slang, or other offensive language is allowed.
2. Intentional spelling or grammar errors are not permissible.
3. The first round is for introduction and agreement purposes.
4. If sources are used, they must be cited with URLs or titles of books.

Ever since the dawn of technology, the thought of building mechanical entities that simulate human behavior has been a huge part of our research. In fact, Homer even noted in one of his ancient books about "people made of brass".

However, now that the human race has a larger access to new technologies, our inventions, innovations, and breakthroughs are already becoming too advanced in some areas.

This debate discusses whether or not artificial intelligence made to simulate human behavior (talking, walking, decision-making) is a good program to put into robots.

I will be taking the Con/Against side of this debate: I believe human-like artificial intelligence in robots should not be allowed. It is dangerous and unnecessary.

When I say "artificial intelligence" (abbreviated "A.I."), I'm not talking about the computerized chess players you can find on a PC. Instead, robots that can simulate humans well enough to literally blend in with society are what I am thinking of. I other words, the robots would be indistinguishable from human beings in all aspects: speech, mobility, appearance, etc.

Although this debate contains almost no scientific evidence and is almost completely science fiction, I strongly recommend taking it seriously and observing practical situations and hypotheses that are backed up by scientific facts. After all, science fiction usually does come true. Flying was once a utopian idea.

I wish good luck to my opponent in this debate.


My opponents rules and agreements seem like good rules to follow and I will gladly abide by them

I will take the Pro side of this debate and argue that Advanced AI simulating human behavior should be programmed into robots for these reasons.

Using robots as soldiers means that we will have robotic beings programmed to use a weapon, drive vehicles, conduct tactical maneuvers and essentially commit any action any other human soldier would do.

Programming robots to use a weapon would mean that they will have much greater accuracy, load much quicker, and resulting in more enemy casualties.

In events it would be hard to identify targets in some environments such as let's say a populated urban area, robotic beings would be able to differentiate between armed and unarmed individuals allowing them to avoid civilian casualties altogether, somewhat like the Terminator could do.
[Refer to video, no casualties inflicted on police while trying to scare them off with a minigun]

In the past this has been an issue. It is hard for humans in the heat of battle to distinguish between civilians and combatants in split second decisions. This problem will be virtually eliminated.

As a plus in the event a robot combatant gets destroyed, no soldier would actually die in war, only enemy combatants.
U.S. and civilian deaths in conflict will be almost eliminated.

They can also explore in uncharted areas that are dangerous to humans such as the deep sea or outer space

Robots with human like minds and behaviors can be programmed to operate exploration craft such submarines and space shuttles and explore territory that would otherwise kill humans and be able to accomplish tasks with almost perfect execution while completely eliminating human risk factor.

There is no need to fear such an advancement in technology when this advancement can save the lives of combat soldiers, civilians, astronauts, divers, operators in nuclear reactors, and various other people in dangerous situations or occupations and at the same time conduct those jobs more efficiently.

In conclusion.

Robots having advanced AI programming would save an untold number of human lives.
When the technology is available for us to accomplish such a feat, we should use it.
Debate Round No. 1


Hello, quarterexchange. I believe we have debated before. Nice to see you again.

My contender has provided an interesting video for this debate. His main message is that robots used in warfare would be beneficial in accuracy, loading speed, and the ability to distinguish between civilians and hostiles. He mentions that people, being the humans they are, can easily make mistakes, such as shooting civilian targets and friendly fire, during warfare. However, although robots tend to not make mistakes, they sometimes do. Glitches in programming, especially in the confusing conditions of warfare, can have a considerable effect on a robot's behavior.

No matter how far we go in technology, a basic rule of life is mistake. Technology can fail at any time. Even the simplest of programs can have errors in programming.

"...robotic beings would be able to differentiate between armed and unarmed individuals..." I'm assuming that a warfare robot in this sense does not shoot at unarmed individuals. Many robots of today, and most likely the future, are only able to do what they are programmed to do. In other words, although a computer is good at doing the job it's programmed for, it isn't good at anything else. For example, a machine that manufactures vehicles probably wouldn't be good at playing chess.

What would happen if the enemy decided to avoid robotic warfare by dressing up all their troops with no armor? How could computers tell the difference then? After all, whether they are civilians or soldiers, people look the same.

I guess you could say that people can make the same mistakes, so therefore robots are better in war simply because they replace humans to allow less people to die in war. Unfortunately, machines are prone to corruption. The enemy can simply take the blueprints of a particular machine and remake a mechanical army of their own. Also, robots can be reprogrammed right on the battlefield.

Furthermore, enemies tend to adapt to new conditions. There has been an invention that, when turned on, produces a wave that disables all electrically-powered devices within a specific radius. I'm not sure exactly what it is called, but my point is that the ability to disable a machine from far away is possible, especially in warfare.

I'm not sure if Pro has completely understood the meaning of this debate entirely: that robots used to act like humans are not beneficial. In other words, you could literally have a robot acquaintance that is indistinguishable from a real person. The machines this debate discusses look like human beings. Many of Pro's arguments focus on jobs present-day robots are almost already doing, such as piloting spacecraft and operators of industries.

Though he is correct about some jobs robots could do, robots absolutely, even if they could, cannot be allowed to socialize, start businesses, and be a part of society in the same way a human being could.


Yes robots can have malfunctions and glitches, but such systems do have emergency safe guards.

I joined a robotics team in high school where we were part of an international robotics competition called First. We would build robots that could perform various tasks such as kicking a soccer ball, picking up hoops, etc. Our controllers would always have emergency STOP buttons to hit in case the robot malfunctioned that would stop the robot immediately. [1]

A robot that has the potential to kill and maim always has safeguards especially if it's used for combat purposes, since even high school robots have them as well.

The robots used by the military wouldn't have to necessarily detect armor. They could detect guns, ammunition, and essentially anything else a enemy combat brings into combat. If a robot detects body armor, a rifle, an ammo belt, a grenade, etc, on certain persons, they would know that the target is a combatant. If they don't, then they would not engage the target seeing as it can cause no damage or threat.

If we were fighting a nation like Russia, China, or any other major military power, you could probably make the argument that they would be able to steal the technology. However for the past 2 decades or so, when we go back to recent combatants U.S. forces had to fight whether it be the the Taliban, the Iraqi army, insurgents, etc you will find that the U.S. has always had superiority over them in nearly every aspect of warfare already. When a helicopter crashes or a squad gets ambushed, we are always able to extract them.

If a combat squad containing robotic combatants has some robotic combatants get hit, we can fly a helicopter and extract the remains. If the entire squad gets annihilated, then we bomb the remains to destroy them, which is already what we would do in the event a stealth plane crashes in enemy territory. We were prepared to do the same during the 1999 bombings when and F-117 went down, but too many civilians were near.[2] We had a top secret helicopter with stealth technology crash in Bin Laden's compound, we were able to extract it the remains.[3]

I'm familiar with the device you are talking about, it simulates an EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) which does effectively disable electronics.

Adding advanced AI soldiers to our ranks would not have any extra negative consequences despite the EMP for two main reasons:

1) Our military already uses Tanks, APC's, Jeeps, Helicopters, etc. And our ground troops also use electronics such as night vision, GPS devices, rangefinders etc.

Simply because there is a device out there that can disable all of the above, does not mean we should not have all of the above for military purposes.

Your logic says that since advanced AI robots can be disabled by an EMP, we shouldn't build them.

I say that an EMP can already cripple our military, does that mean we should no longer build tanks? Or give soldiers night vision? Or have helicopters? Of course not.

2) The only countries that can even have the possibility to obtain such a device which causes an EMP for combat purposes via nuclear explosion are nations in Europe and maybe Russia and China. [4]

Essentially countries we will never have a major war with either because are allies or because such a war would last only 30 minutes.

Robots in the workplace.

I understood. I'm saying that a robot that acts like a human and looks like a human would save human lives in risky occupations. While there are robots that can operate in nuclear reactors and spacecraft, a robot that looks and behaves like a human but has the intelligence of a computer could be more beneficial.

In conclusion robots with Advanced artificial intelligence would reduce casualties in combat for the United States and innocent civilians and possibly do the same for those that work in high risk occupations.

Either way, my opponent has not satisfied the burden of proof that robots will, beyond a reasonable doubt, be detrimental to society and has given no reason why robots with advanced AI socializing and functioning as humans in society would have negative consequences.

(Controls for a highschool robotics team. Page 20. Even High school robotics teams have emergency stop safeguards)

(It's policy to bomb valuable technology that can get into enemy hands)

(Valuable stealth technology is quickly recovered, or destroyed to prevent it from reaching enemy hands)

(Practical combat uses of EMP's can only be caused by nuclear weapons)
Debate Round No. 2


My apologies to quarterexchange, but because of final examinations, I am unable to post my arguments. Therefore, I forfeit this round and resign the debate.


It's a shame my opponent had to forfeit and was not able to respond to my arguments.

I thank him for posting a reason for his forfeit rather than actually dragging out the entire time limit.

In conclusion.

My opponent offered no reason as to why robots with advanced artificial intelligence would have any detrimental effect on society by taking part in society and since he was the instigator, that was his job.

My opponent was not able to respond to my arguments about how robots with advanced AI would actually save the lives of soldiers and civilians during conflict as well as eliminate the human risk factor in various other situations and scenarios.

Therefore his position, that we shouldn't program advanced human AI into robots, did not fulfill the burden of proof.

Vote Pro
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by shooterboss 5 years ago
Sorry about ambiguities, but I do mean only some specialized robots can have AI programmed into them. This excludes many other robots, including cleaning machines and labor-saving devices. Also, this debate assumes human AI will someday be invented.
Posted by Logic_on_rails 5 years ago
Can we argue for only a percentage of robots being programmed with human behaviour, or is that voiding the debate's intention? Also, I'm assuming for the debate's purpose the capacity of human behaviour simulation exists, no?

If yes to both the above, and the debate doesn't get taken, I'll take it.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
"Ever since the dawn of technology, the thought of building mechanical entities that simulate human behavior has been a huge part of our research."

Yeah mainly men trying to simulate one particular behavior.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by nerdykiller 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: The Con has forfeited the last round which I think could've been the turning point in this debate. Still the Pro did a much better job in his arguments and reasoning.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: Too bad this looked to be interesting, class to Con on the open forfeit.