Colouring The World with Thought

Daniel Dennett is a philosophy rock-star. Let me tell you about "The Intentional Stance". Dennett writes: "First you decide to treat the object whose behavior is to be predicted as a rational agent; then you figure out what beliefs that agent ought to have, given its place in the world and its purpose. Then you figure out what desires it ought to have, on the same considerations, and finally you predict that this rational agent will act to further its goals in the light of its beliefs. A little practical reasoning from the chosen set of beliefs and desires will in most instances yield a decision about what the agent ought to do; that is what you predict the agent will do."

One example is when we predict that a bird will fly away because it knows the cat is coming and is afraid of getting eaten. Here, we are taking the intentional stance. You see? The bird is not 'afraid'. The cat has no 'intention' of eating the bird. None has reason. This is how we layer the world with our human understanding. It's your mum telling you the dog will be sad if you hit it with a bat. It won't ... But please, don't hit the dog with a bat.

 "They're so fluffy I'm going to die !!!" - Agnes / Despicable me

"They're so fluffy I'm going to die !!!" - Agnes / Despicable me

Adjacent to this is Dan Norman, designer extra-ordinaire, and his approach to "Emotional Design": "In chapter 5, the author refers to humans and the natural tendency to interpret emotions in people and objects. Computer anger is a case in point of how people humanise and interpret as animated something that is not. (...) People tend to blame the computer as if it was its fault, similarly to team work relationship. Moreover, the fact that computers do not express shame or blame makes it more frustrating."

Norman goes on to make the case for robotic emotions. That non-verbal feedback, facial expression and body language will be needed in robots in order to understand them better. He mentions that robots should have at least 3 emotions in order to improve their performance: Pride, fear and frustration! So the next time your app bugs, remember your anger stems from your need to hear "I'm sorry" !! Good morning Impossiblers :D