I then ask the students how they think my first question, about appearances, is related to the second. The first student raises her hand and says “Well you know, they guys who work on robots, they don’t look too good, because all they care about is work.”
How does one’s brain come to work like that, to think that was the answer I’d be going for? This is entirely a matter of association, perceptions of relevance, and common sense. It seems like it should be obvious that I am concerned with whether outward differences in machines and people could be unimportant compared to mental properties. But that wasn’t obvious to this student. What popped into her head was that computer guys are slobs.