The sole characteristic that makes us what we are, human beings, is our ability to ‘get out of our selves’ and to make decisions as if their outcome didn’t matter to us. In other terms we are able of cold blooded reasoning.
I don’t say this is easy – it involves quieting down our emotions – nor that everybody is able to do it. In fact almost nobody is able to do it consistently yet here we are, all the better just because of this particular ability of ours.
I find it extremely strange that some of us, in fact too many of us, are willing to give up this special ability, for different reasons.
Some try to introduce self driving cars, in the name of safety and to increase the capacity of existing highways. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-04-03/the-problem-with-self-driving-cars-they-dont-cry
Some others came up with software to grade students essays. http://www.informationweek.com/mobile/mobile-devices/automated-essay-grading-software-stirs-debate/d/d-id/1111035?
Not even the stock market is immune to these developments. “High-frequency trading practices” – robots, that is – have become widespread enough as to create concern. http://www.aboutschwab.com/press/issues/
As you’ll notice if you read those articles there is no clear majority as yet, for or against this phenomenon. Pros are carefully weighted against the identified cons and then advice is given by the authors. Unfortunately none of them distances himself far enough from the brouhaha to notice the somber fact that by allowing so many automatons to take over our lives we not only basically give up our individual autonomy but also we give up more and more of the opportunities we have to exercise our capacity to decide for ourselves.
It is indeed increasingly safer and more profitable, in the short term at least.
But is it really good for us? For our ability to cope in unforeseen/unforeseeable circumstances?