Letter No 114 - Are emotions mechanical?

Dear friend,
We live in the age of A.I.
First human beings learned to exploit the labour of other humans and get them to work for a pay or in return for protection or some kind of barter. The rulers and the warlords who could control large groups of people and get them to work for them became powerful. Farming, construction, fighting wars became the largest groups of employment.
Then we learn to create machines that could do the work of human beings. Thus began the industrial age. We invested in making these machines and needed a different kind of labor. One kind was people who could build these machines, and one kind was those who could operate these machines. The people who do the intellectual work of designing these machines, and acquire the capital to buy these machines and pay the workers who operated them became powerful. Factories became the largest employers.
Then came the services revolution where most physical work was being done by machines. The people who knew how to design new products and raise the capital to hire intelligent people to run and manage operations became powerful. Human beings are required to provide services based on human interaction, complex thinking, decision making, etc. Services like banking, customer support, coding, design became the largest employers.
But now even complex human intelligence and interactions are being automated. We are now able to get A.I. to talk to us and interact with us just like a human would. It is able to learn new things on the go and develop it's ability to give better and better answers.
So now the big question that is coming up again and again is will A.I. ever be able to give us the satisfaction that interaction with a human being gives us?
And if we believe that our emotions are one of the things that make us human, then the question becomes will A.I. have emotions? And will it be able to give us the emotional satisfaction (or pain) that interaction with a human gives us?


And if we are explore this question, we must ask ourselves this -
Are emotions something mechanical?
Are emotions uniquely human?
Can emotions be predicted or are they quite random?
Can our emotions be manipulated even if we know we are being manipulated?
Do we have control over our emotions?

I find this a very interesting set of questions.


We now know that emotions are very tiny micro quantities of chemicals being pumped into our blood stream by our brain and various other organs and glands. They make us feel happy, sad, energetic, and so on. They are triggered by thoughts, memories, environmental factors, and others types of internal and external stimulus.

If you talk to me in a certain tone of voice, there is a very high chance I will get irritated.
If you tell me good things about me, before you ask me for something, there is a very high chance I will say yes.
If you show me pictures of people being exploited, there is a very high chance I will angry.
If you talk to me about things that I can relate with from my childhood, there is a very high chance I will feel sentimental.
If you talk to me about things related to my dreams and aspirations, there is a very high chance I will get energised.
If you make me hear a certain song at a certain volume, there is a very high chance I will feel inspired to take some chances. My body language will also chance.
If you send me a text with certain emoji's from a certain person, there is a very high chance my mood will change.


How predictable we are.


And if this is the case, how difficult is it for A.I. to learn how my emotions operate and show me and give me just the stimulus in order for me to feel a certain way.
In fact this is exactly what a person with very high Emotional Intelligence is able to do. This is exactly what great negotiators, salespeople and great artists are able to do.
We are all easily manipulated.
And A.I. is intelligent even to become a master manipulator.



This letter is not about A.I.

This letter is about us, and our emotions.

Our emotions drive our behaviour.

Pleasure and pain drive our choices.

We are not as 'human' as we think.

We are actually quite programmable.


But here is the fun part. We can program ourselves!


We can program and reprogram our own triggers, blindspots, hopes and delsuions.

But it requires awareness. It requires us to be able to watch ourselves even as we are in the sway of emotions, or being manipulated or trigger by some situation.

It requires self awareness and strategy and repetition to reprogram ourselves.


I believe emotions are just as mechanical as any machine.

Would love to know your thoughts.

Im closing this letter a little abruptly. But I hope to hear back from you with your experiences and thoughts.