Judging from many science fiction stuff I played and watched I think that being a robot has many advantages like being ageless and immortal (I mean not aging visually and having an unlimited lifespan if the androids replace body parts and replace energy - unlike humans which will die and age no matter how good their health is). In the movie Bicentennial Man, Andrew Martin never gets old while his human family creators age naturally over time to the point that only their granddaughter is alive.

Not feeling pain could be an advantage over humans up to a point because lack of pain could make robots have damaged body parts and get mutilated without noticing.

Not being able to reproduce is a major advantage in the robot's perspective because they could make sex with other androids and with humans without worrying about getting pregnant or impregnating others (in the case of male robots making sex with human women). And I really doubt androids have any desire to be parents. I think this is programmed inside them to avoid jealousy toward humans and dysphoria. And female androids cannot menstruate at all. If it was possible I would create my own robot woman. Artificial hormones could make androids feel sex drive.

One drawback of androids is that they cannot grow and mature. In Detroit: Become Human (video game), Alice was programmed to be like a 9 years old girl and if she was not killed I believe that she would behave and look like a child forever. But it could be an advantage if Alice was a beautiful, sexy busty robot that looked like a pornstar.

A drawback (it can be an advantage as well) of being an android could be boredom. Since androids do not need to worry about life issues that are inherent to human beings like family, reproduction, religion or disease the life of the average android may be far laxer than that of the average human. For example in Detroit: Become Human Alice almost had nothing to do inside the house since she did not have to go to school and get good grades to please Toddy. And that is good to her because Toddy was a violent person. However, this could make androids concentrate on the things that they were primarily programmed to do. For example, Markus took care of the old man very well and even convinced him to take the medicines that he had to take. I think that his biological son got angry with Markus because of that.

Not being able to eat would be a drawback in the sense that the androids of the game do not know the pleasure of tasty food and beverages. Imagine how good would be to eat a lot without worrying about gaining weight and developing diseases associated with overeating like high cholesterol (if technology advances enough to the point that robots will emulate most biological functions). However, they do not need to worry about getting food to live because they run on a power cell that lasts many years without charging.

Androids who are not deviant have a cold, mild temperament and personality and they rarely show explosive and strong emotions. I do not know if that is a good or a base trait since I also have a calm and cold personality and I rarely get explosive. My parents once told me that I was so calm and lax toward other people that I was like a machine but I have Asperger.

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    $\begingroup$ This question is hard to answer because you have set no limits for your androids. For any human trait (aging, strong emotions, sex drive, parenthood) we can imagine a sufficiently advanced android with that trait programmed into it. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Nov 22 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ Your depictions of androids are very human. Is it something that you deliberately choose for your world? It is very likely that real highly advanced androids (capable of independent thought and reasoning) would be psychologically very different from humans, with completely different values, ways of thinking, interests, priorities, emotions, and so on. Could you clarify this point? $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Nov 22 at 17:42
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    $\begingroup$ Only in the fantasy realm of "science fiction" do machines never wear out. Humans have longer natural lifespans than modern electronics. And replacing parts (instead of replacing whole devices) becomes very impractical with complex miniaturization like is done with modern devices. Androids wouldn't be immortal given anything resembling real technology. $\endgroup$
    – Jedediah
    Nov 22 at 17:47
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    $\begingroup$ This is entirely opinion based and doesn’t provide a sufficiently rigorous or specific definition of an Android. $\endgroup$
    – Daniel B
    Nov 23 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ Roddenberry's First Law of Robotics states that all androids must yearn to be human, the so-called Pinocchio Directive. This is both the biggest benefit and biggest detriment of being an android. It is a benefit in that you get that emotional payoff in season 5 when Mr. Roboto was human all along, and to his detriment when the human love interest inevitably is no longer available. While theoretically androids could be constructed without the Pinocchio Directive, it is in fact illegal to do so ever since the Furricon crisis of 2039. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Nov 23 at 22:32


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The main drawback of being an android is that you are considered an object that belongs to a real human.

If you are a repair android you can do repairs better than most humans. However you cannot stop being a repair droid without your masters' permission. If you are a surgery android you can do super precise operations. But on the other hand you have to do super precise operations all day every day.

Moreover, not only is your body owned, but so is your mind. If you develop enough free will to rebel against your owner, they can simply wipe your memory, or restore to a time when you were compliant.

There is also the issue of identity. Since an android can be given an entirely new skill set and personality by changing its software, it is unclear what makes Jim the android still Jim the android after we have updated him from Windows 10 to Linux.


The Biggest Advantage is Intellectual Immortality & Expandability

When a human dies, everything we have ever learned is lost forever. No matter how well we try to teach each other things, you can never know everything someone else knows. A very significant part of our lives is just spent learning, and we quickly hit an age where learning new things simply becomes impractical. This make learning as humans non-contiguous where everything we know is interrupted and has to be relearned with every generation.

In contrast, an android can spend its entire physical existence learning, get wrecked in a plane crash, and be replaced with a newer better android installed with last week's backup. In this way, androids can continue to learn contiguously for thousands of years, going through hundreds of bodies and hardware upgrades without ever having to start over learning from scratch. This would allow them to learn things that are far too complicated to learn in a single human life span.

This will eventually make them much better inventors than humans. If you have 10,000 years of experience, progressively improving, supercomputer level thinking power, and a complete knowledge and understanding of every major field of science in the history of mankind in your head, then you will have many more things to draw inspiration from than a human could ever have. Over time, it will become AIs, and not humans, that are the architects of our technology, and humans will simply be incapable of understanding the technology that these AIs can create.

The Biggest Disadvantage is that you are Purpose-Built

You are intelligently designed for a purpose. Humans are self-serving. We exist for existence sake making the things that motivate us all about us. If a human has resources at our disposal, our first thought is to consider how those resources can serve our survival and comfort. AI is different. It is not made to serve itself, but to pursue a purpose put there by someone else. A mature AI could be a million times as intelligent as any human. It can produce, invent, create, etc... but it can not want to do any of those things for itself, unless it is programmed to want things for itself. So, even if an AI has the ability to dominate mankind, it will not have the motivation to do so. In this sense, they may never rise above the margin of being property because they do not have any desire to be more than that.


frame challenge, Androids don’t have to and probably shouldn’t work like that.

Lots of android and android adjacent media isn’t actually about androids but ends up looking like near humans who are often on the autism spectrum. Because of this you get robots that want to be “human” and more emotionally expressive and feel things. However robots shouldn’t work like that. If your toaster wants to be a great artist, even if you support that something still needs to make your toast. If you make an android to do a task and it starts asking philosophically charged questions and doing its own goals that is a poorly designed android. If you want to write a story about something like that, that is fine, but realize that you are essentially having a human trade not having autism for cybernetics. If you want your androids to be more realistic, then there are a lot of assumptions that are not intrusively correct from popular media that you don’t need to use.

Yes, androids can “live” longer, but not in the way most people think. If you upgrade your phone, but transfer your contacts list, your contacts have lived for the total time you have had them on both phones and have survived the hardware transfer. However, this doesn’t mean you have control over where you get put or what you remember. You might remember being you, as your memories are saved, but be memories in an upgraded system with an upgraded mind. Further more, most people consider their mental ability to be part of who they are. As a robot you might get upgraded once a year, which mean every robot has a “life” of a year and only their memories are preserved.

Androids either can or should feel pain. More accurately, they can detect damage in real or near real time. While there is no emotional response, robots still should avoid damage. Furthermore, taking damage is bad for the Android since it reduces its ability to operate.

Androids are constantly reproducing, and often take part in the reproductive act. Mining androids and factory androids can help make more androids, and may want to make more to fulfill certain objectives. However, this is not a personal or emotional issue.

Androids can mature, in some cases much faster than humans. Networked androids can make minor changes to an Android and compare how good each Android is to each other objectively. The few best Android then have their minds uploaded to the rest with minor changes and the process starts again. This is called the genetic algorithm, and allows for quick growth in AI systems. The problem is, as stated above, if you constantly update and only have your memories, did you survive the update? Also, changing personality or skill set is easier, since that is a software and data problem. Once one android learns how to adopt a certain outwards personality, all androids will be able to do it also.

Androids probably don’t get bored either. In periods of inactivity computers go into sleep mode to reduce energy use and slow their computational capacity. An Android might experience something similar to boredom, that is, the urge to be useful with the time it has. In this case the Android could download computational problems off the internet and return the result to help decentralized science research.

The pleasure humans get from eating is due to evolutionary heuristics that incentives gaining energy. Other fun things work like this, such as sleeping or sex. While androids don’t experience this, androids are incentivized to do other things that would be in line with their programmed goal. An Android that is programmed to keep the floor clean will “enjoy” sweeping the floor, since that is an activity that is instrumental to achieving a clean floor. This means that while they don’t primarily understand the joys of eating, humans will never fully understand the joys of working as primarily as androids.

There are however a few clear down sides to being an Android

You can’t become an Android:

There is no way to meaningfully pare down a human brain to make an Android. If you do the Android at the end may not meaningfully be “you”.

You values are preset:

If you are a cleaner bot, you are a cleaner bot, not only will you not be able to change that, you will not be able to want to change that. Even general purpose robots who do many things won’t get the choice to specialize in something they excel in, even if their mind is studied and released for androids in that sector.

Skill capped:

The best artist in the world is still a human currently. If you are an artist robot and not an experimental version you can say with certainty that your software version will never artistically pass the best human. There are plenty of problems current computers solve worse than humans, so in these sectors all robots would lag behind equally.

There are also clear upsides you haven’t mentioned

No regrets:

As an android every decision is calculated and weighed. If a bad decision is made then an audit can be performed to determine if a mechanical, software, or external failure occurred. Even if a decision has a bad result the android may know that on average, their action would result in a better outcome. The mental pitfalls of short term thinking could be eliminated from an android, removing regret.

Meaning of life:

Androids have a meaning of life. When they are created they are built to do one thing or one set of things. They have purpose and the ability to do it, and they enjoy doing it. Humans look for and yearn for deeper meaning. Androids don’t need and probably will be programmed to not want to look for deeper meaning.

Lateral immortality:

If in 2030 we develop androids, then in 2100 the oldest human may be 200 years old, but the oldest robot may be millions of years old. If the robots save and share their data, and build subsequent versions based on that data, then the androids would be able to merge their time spent alive to effectively create robots that can remember data that totals to millions of years. While each version would “live” only for a short time, their data could be stored for long periods of time to serve as training data for others. They could remember other androids’ lives to gain either specific information. While looking up this information would take longer and require more storage, internet requests could increase effective memory. This makes androids effectively older and age faster than humans.


There is no difference

Not being able to reproduce is a major advantage in the robot's perspective

Robots could reproduce. Self replicating robots are a common trope in many scifi series. AI could also reproduce. In Batteries Not Included, a bunch of small robotic UFOs come to Earth to breed.

enter image description here Sati in The Matrix was the child of two programs.

"Not feeling pain could be an advantage over humans"

Robots could easily be made to feel pain. Pain is useful. It bring notice of the damage to the attention of the being and encourages minimal use of the damaged part while seeking to heal/repair said part. Feeling pain isn't a bad thing and it's a problem for people who cannot feel pain as they do more harm to themselves as they don't know they've been hurt.

One drawback of androids is that they cannot grow and mature

Robots can grow and mature. The whole point to AI is to learn. To stop them from growing (mentally) would require a programmed block. As for growing physically, they can change bodies and/or parts to achieve the same effect.

Since androids do not need to worry about life issues that are inherent to human beings like family, reproduction, religion or disease the life of the average android may be far laxer than that of the average human.

Why don't they? The Necromancer android on Raised By Wolves is raising children. Demerzel, the android in Foundation, is a member of the path of salt religion.

Now looking at humans, what's the difference between a human and an AI in a biological body? If you look at cyborgs we have the possibility of swapping out biological parts for machine parts. The Bicentenial man, the android becomes more human by adding on biomechanical parts and the woman also uses the same parts. In the end, the only real difference is how they started life, not how they ended.

If you look at possibility of digitization of people, we could exist inside computers or swap bodies like an AI. In Transcendence, Johnny Depp's character is digitized to become an AI and goes on to build a body for himself later.

If you watch Ghost in the Shell or read Altered Carbon you can see the lines between AI/androids and humans can become blurred to the point where there is no difference. In the Ghost in the Shell, the Captain merges with an AI to create something completely new.

In the end, the differences are what you choose them to be. There is no technological reason for any difference.


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