I love that I live in a house where a joke about willingly becoming a robot leads to a legitimately intriguing discussion about the dynamics, drawbacks, and advantages of implanting a robot with quantifiable emotion.
Andrew's point: What good is a perfect feeling of love and happiness if there was never any sadness to counteract it? Essentially, without sadness there can't be happiness, so even a certifiable implant of an emotion, where it possible, would be meaningless. Really, there would be nothing to compare it to. Andrew feels that sadness needs to be ever-present to properly "calibrate" the measure of "happiness" included.
Raf's point: Agreed that there has to be a measure of the opposite to compound a feeling, but I feel that were one able to perfect a sadness that leaves an impression without remaining, it would truly lead to a permanent and quantifiable feeling of ecstacy. Think of a footprint: it lets you know someone was there, without you have to see the person walking those steps. My suggestion was to implant sad memories, but to remove them after a while, so that the impression remains, and not the impressor.
Having known sadness without reliving it, could a robot truly be permanently happy? Once the being recognizes and/ or relives these events, it acknowledges the flaws and essentially, it becomes humanity. In knowing there is more than it knows, so to speak...giving a robot sadness makes it human.
In non-sentient technology news, it's almost Christmas and I'm starting to fall victim to the Yuletide of emotions people tend to get this time of year. I miss home, I miss you all, yet I'm strangely happy I'm staying in California. Going to Vegas won't hurt, but the fact that I didn't have the option to fly back does. Bollocks to that nonsense.
For those of you worried, my Irish Kudzu patch is coming back nice and think, and bramblier than ever. Every day I look at myself in the mirror and I get scruffier and scruffier. 2009 will be a bear of a hair surprise.
Here's hoping the best for you and yours.
PS: No, we're not drunk: this entire discussion came about because of how much I love synthpop, electronic music, and Daft Punk's phenomenal Alive 2007: Japan
PPS: If only I could be an android bear...