KITT from the “Knight Rider” as a psychology experiment

in #life5 years ago (edited)

Do you remember KITT from the “Knight Rider” TV series?  

Image originally uploaded by ahisgett on and reused under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) Creative Commons License 

Whether you watched the “Knight Rider” in the 1980s or in later releases, KITT was the point of reference in this TV series, since the actual plot of each episode revolved around the incredible things that this extraordinary car could do. 

The fact that it could speak like a human was one of the many exciting capabilities of this hi-tech car, which was pioneering for its era, to say the least. 

Perhaps, KITT’s most unbelievable feature was that it could also “think”. This means that it was programmed to construct and follow logical reasoning. Sometimes, the car’s high level of logic, which was the result of data processing by the advanced technology systems that it was equipped with, proved to be an invaluable tool for its driver, David Hasselhoff, as it could solve problems and perform calculations that no human brain could do.  

In psychology, it is argued that the human brain can be “reprogrammed”, in order for any bad and unwanted habits and behaviors to be eliminated.  

Similarly to KITT, our brain should do whatever we program it to do. If we program it to kill, it will kill, although KITT, as far as I can remember, had a problem with killing, because it was programmed not to do it. 

Of course, KITT didn’t have any emotions, although there was a tendency in the series to add some element of “sentimentality” in the dialogues between KITT and the actors and actresses of the series. 

The question is: “Could we program our brain, in the same way that KITT was programmed to do certain tasks, and prohibited to do others?” 

In my opinion, the answer to this question is difficult, due to the complexity of the human brain, and the fact that the actual existence of a human being consists of the combination of a number of systems, on top of the fact that we cannot separate the human body from the human brain, or the human emotions (“psyche”). All these elements are inextricably linked to each other, in order for their combined action to result in human habits, attitudes,, beliefs, and behaviors. 

KITT could not feel any pain, for example, while humans are both organically and functionally “programmed” to feel pain from the moment they are born. In fact, if they don’t feel any pain, this means that there is something wrong; some organ might not work properly, etc. 

Can humans be “reprogrammed”?  

If we consider that learning is essentially some form of programming and reprogramming, as it shapes and reshapes human behavior, then yes, humans can be programmed and reprogrammed to act in a certain way. 

This process, however, has specific limits that are determined by the joint action of human emotions, and the already existing programming through the human genes. 

I guess that if we accept that the human genes can be reprogrammed according to specific standards and rules, then humans can programmed similarly to KITT, can’t they? 

Further reading:

Knight Rider


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