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Rilkean Memories and the Self of a Robot


This paper discusses the concept of Rilkean memories, recently introduced by Mark Rowlands, to analyze the complex intermix of hardware and software related to the self of a robot. The Rilkean memory of an event is related to the trace of that episode left in the body of the individual. It transforms the act of remembering into behavioral and bodily dispositions, thus generating the peculiar behavioral style of the individual, which is at the basis of her autobiographical self. In the case of long-life operating robots, a similar process occurs: the software of the robot has to cope with the changes that happened in the body of the robot because of damaging events in its operational life. Thus, the robot, in compensating the damages of its body, acquires a particular behavioral style. The concept of Rilkean memory is essential in self-adapting robotics technologies where human intervention on a robot is not possible, and the robot must cope with its faults, and also in applications concerning green robotics.