The Emergence of Artificial Culture in Robot Societies
To know whether a group of robots, through interaction, establish what could be termed robot culture, those of us observing the robots need some say of perceiving this culture.One member of the team exploring this issue has been reading Fred Dretske’s book on perception, knowledge and belief. Dretske talks about a child’s perception of a black cat on a sofa. He said that a small child (did not give the age) glancing at the sofa mistakes a sleeping cat for an old sweater. Does the child see an object? Yes, she does. Besides, the sofa there is an object, the black cat on the sofa that the child mistakenly believes to be a black sweater. Though the child does not recognise the cat (as a cat), she must in some sense see the cat in order to mistake it for a sweater. Nevertheless, though the child sees a black cat on the sofa, or sees an object fitting this description, she does not realise that this is a correct description of what she sees. She therefore fails to see that there is a cat on the sofa. In this robot project a child watches robots and says they have people inside them or they have 'minds' most adults would say that is not so as what is know as 'people' or 'mind' is not what is inside a robot if we take the robot apart. However, there are 'people' or 'minds' in the robots in the sense that they have been designed and developed by 'people' with 'minds'. My pragmatic response to this question is to think maybe it doesn't matter in what sense the child means robots have 'people' or 'minds' in them, but what is important is how this perception affects how the child responds to the robot and the ramifications of this response. With the sweater and the cat a problem arises if the child picks up the cat as if it were a sweater.
Correction to first paragraphTo know whether a group of robots, through interaction, establish what could be termed robot culture, those of us observing the robots need some WAY of perceiving this culture.