Robotic Responses

They’ve come from all over the world to compete in the F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Competition here in Orlando, a regional competition that could lead some of them to the world competition in Houston. Teams are made of high schoolers who must follow strict rules under time restraints to build an industrial-sized robot to compete in games while working with other teams. It’s a chance to design, build, and program robots to compete for awards.

This kind of competition builds interest in STEM functions–Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. Creating these robots encourages the pursuit of these interests in a way that’s exciting and unique.

Sydney is the president of her team, Exploding Bacon. (Who doesn’t love a name with the word “bacon” in it?) She’s been part of the robotics club since her freshman year; it’s propelled her to pursue engineering as a major in college.

I watched this competition, and with no idea what to expect, I had visions of Battle Bots going at each other in a craze of technological destruction. But these robots were programmed to operate with a challenging skill set. Moving and stacking objects, balancing on moving platforms, all in a timed course.

It was fascinating.

Robotics is the wave of the future. Artificial intelligence is being developed at a surprising rate. It’s even getting students in trouble–it’s possible to use AI to help write research papers and essays.

We’re still at the point, however, where artificial intelligence can perform human-like behaviors–recognizing human images and replicating human language–but it can’t think or understand like a person.

Do we really want machines thinking for us or acting on our behalf?

One of the great gifts God has given us is the ability to think and process what is happening around us. We’ve been given minds to pursue understanding, ask questions, to think for ourselves with the information we’re given.

We also have the privilege and responsibility of listening to truth. Of discerning what is right and wrong. Because what enters our hearts and minds determines who we are.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8

When we fill our minds with beauty and truth, it impacts how we live, what we become, and the decisions we make. All these things shape us. But we have to be careful with what we allow to impact us.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

Robots will act as they are programmed to act, and their behavior can be excellent.

If they’re programmed well.

We have the option of choosing how we act with what we know.

Very unrobotic.

Very real.

Oh. And they did win the competition.

Human effort.

8 responses to “Robotic Responses”

  1. Your post provides human wisdom which I doubt robots can provide!

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    1. Oh, El, you continue to be so kind! How’s Thomas taking the delay? Y’all doing ok?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Dayle! Thomas and are trying to do it right this time and I am printing out some prayers people, including you have sent. We rushed into this before. Now we will do it properly, God willing. Thomas is playing his classical guitar which distracts him from all this. You must have a big clean up after the weekend. God bless you, Dayle! Thank you.

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  2. Love this one Dayle–several of my children were involved with First Robotics! It is amazing what computers/robots can now do—-liked how you led into us thinking for ourselves and pursuing God–something no one can do for us!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Katers, your kids did this as well? It’s been an incredible experience for Syd, but even more fun to see all that can happen. But the whole idea of programming a robot and our kids–and us–being programmed by what we allow to fill our minds and hearts–is a little overwhelming. Thanks for your kind words–you are the heart of encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is a little overwhelming!! — But God!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Intake influences what we think about. How we act, what we become. In a way, we’re programming our minds. Let’s be careful how we program them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So very true, my friend. And how easily we are programmed!

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