Ray Kurtzweil, in Transcendent Man, noted that in the near future, we as a species will go extinct, replaced by artificial intelligence, information technology and robotics. One could solidly argue this is already very much this case. Will psychology become robotology? What would this transformation do for our conceptualizations of person, suffering, health and the good life? Do we have a choice in this progression, or, as the Borg says in Star Trek: Resistance is futile
It may be that the issues of artificial intelligence, information technology, and robotics can be considered in view of Larssons discussion on General Systems Theory (GST) and the function of computers with regard to the science of cybernetics introduced by Norbert Weiner (1894- 1964) (as cited in Larsson, 2017). Where cybernetics deals with feedback loops and correcting outputs in an effort to maintain operations much like involved in the processes of achieving homeostasis. For Larsson (2017) feedback loop concepts are seen to appear as applied in psychology as units of ‘adaptive control’ considered in relation to classical behavioral theory. Where, for example, an aspect of the issue can include in the application of such concepts to cognitive assessment as sensory input is processed, informed by memory, and ultimately used to make decisions about acting in the world (Larsson, 2017, p. 212).
It seems that in this case of psychology becoming robotology, as for what this transformation would do for the conceptualizations of person, suffering, health and the good life may require a closer examination of ethical issues associated with the age of information age. For example, including in the areas such as what Mason (1986) describes as regarding the costs to humanity.
In Klines (2015) discussion of cybernetics, in view of the Macy conferences (1941- 1960 held in NY) on cybernetics, there is mention of the distinction between natural science and human science and the application of information theory within living systems. For Kline (2015) social scientists including psychologists were considered at the conference for their input on the application in the various social science fields. The role of analogies and models (e.g., theoretical and material) for Kline (2015) are considered important areas of debate for cyberneticians at these Macys conferences. Where, for example, one analogy regarding machines and humans, upon which the issue of robotology is raised by psychologist Hans Lukas Teuber (as cited in Kline, 2015).
Where for Teuber (as cited in Kline, 2015) it would be that the psychologists’ role can include to mediate between neurophysiological matters and robotology. It seems that in view of this transformation from psychology to robotology regarding changes to conceptualizations of, for example, the person again ethical issues relevant to cybernetics and the age of information seem necessary to explore. Where, for example, Kline (2015) suggests information calculus, in view of experimental psychology, changed the way stimulus-response behavior were measured in relation to a technique referred to as information measurement intending to provide representative models of, for example, human behavior.
Kline, R. R. (2015). The cybernetics moment: Or why we call our age the information age. Johns Hopkins University Press, ProQuest Ebook Central. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/tcsesl/detail.action?docID=3433433.
Larsson, P. (2017). Psychological healing: Historical and philosophical foundations of professional psychology. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock.
Mason, R. (1986). Four ethical issues of the information age. MIS Quarterly, 10(1), 5-12. doi:10.2307/248873