- by Jamescon, Editor
- 1/22/2016 1:15:38 PM
@Ariella and @Lyndon. I'd vote for the non-humanoid approach. Part of it might be the creepyness factor, but more important is I'm not big on putting form ahead of function. If you want to make things affordable I wouldn't want to trade off function or quality just for a pretty face or human shape.
- 1/22/2016 12:34:45 PM
@Lyndon-Henry yet in Japan, it seems they don't consider it at all offputting. My guess is that in the US, you'd more likely have a CP30 kind of robot or even a person dressed up like a robot to get attention without the potential creep factor. I'm not sure if it's exactly due to a fear of death. It may just be feeling a bit disoriented by something too close to us in appearance. Maybe it would be a bit like running across your double somewhere. You may get a kick out of it, but some may feel like someone is stealing something that they thought was exclusively their own.
- by Lyndon_Henry, Blogger
- 1/22/2016 12:20:24 PM
Though I'm not creeped out by dolls, I do find the concept of really lifelike robots all around -- as they are in one Japanese hotel -- a bit unsettling.
Here's a "humanoid" robot in a Japanese mall.
She sorta looks like she has sparrows or something pecking things in her hair. Anyway, leaving that aside, I can kinda understand that researcher's observation that "a non-living thing that looks like a human may also trigger our innate fear of death...."
I was also imagining the reaction of, say, a guy who hooks up with her on Tinder and then actually meets her at the pub...
- 1/22/2016 11:48:17 AM
@Lyndon_Henry thanks for sharing that. You bring up a very interesting point about design. I think that may vary by person, though culture may be a part of it. I have a daughter who even finds certain dolls creepy, particularly if they are animated in some way. For people like that, a robot that doesn't really look humanoid is probably a better bet. Though I'm not creeped out by dolls, I do find the concept of really lifelike robots all around -- as they are in one Japanese hotel -- a bit unsettling. But maybe that's because I've read The Stepford Wives.
- by Lyndon_Henry, Blogger
- 1/22/2016 11:43:04 AM
I immediately thought of Ariella's blog and this thread when I encountered this Live Mint article titled "Good day, Robot" with the teaser line:
Do we prefer bots that look like us? Can we find them cute? And can we actually have feelings towards an artificial being?
The article reminded me of this thread particularly because it mentions robots in nursing homes, but focuses mainly on the issue of whether or not robots should be designed to look more like humans, or less humanoid:
A popular theory on robots is that it is best to make them resemble humans as closely as possible, so we can accept them as one of us.
However, there is also research that suggests we may not be inclined to accept artificial beings that look like us.
... There is still a lot of debate about which direction robot design should take. The humanoid robot is still very much a part of ongoing developments.
I thought the following observation was also of interest:
We have an evolutionary tendency to be repulsed by anyone who looks sick or unhealthy, and humanoid robots may appear so to us. Looking at a non-living thing that looks like a human may also trigger our innate fear of death—puppets that look like people have been found to have the same effect.
So when you go to pick out your a caregiving robot of your very own, are you gonna choose one that looks sorta like Data (the robotic officer in Star Trek: Next Generation), C3PO (the squat little guy in Star Wars), or a fluffy baby harp seal (see below)?
- by Michelle, Data Doctor
- 11/24/2015 8:14:26 AM
@James I remember reading proof of concept information about these robots, in the past. I didn't realize anytime was working on a production version. It seems like the robots would be more expensive than an office for a company...
- by Broadway0474, Blogger
- 11/17/2015 9:38:53 PM
Jamescon, human friends are tough, especially in person. They cannot be programmed (typically ... at least not in friendly relationships) and they often have hard times following rules. What's more, they often behave in ways they themselves don't understand. Maybe what we all need are villages or neighborhoods, in which we have a role, even if we're not liked.
- by jmyerson2, Data Doctor
- 11/16/2015 8:50:42 PM
Thanks. I would have mentioned it to my professor friend with a PhD in philosophy. I took over her Associate Director position when she passed away a while ago. She wanted me to pursue a PhD in philosophy or computer science.
- 11/16/2015 7:54:01 PM
An interesting follow-up to this would be the article in the MIT Review that just was published:Our Robotic Children: The Ethics of Creating Intelligent Life