Space Zen: Will Humans' Brains Change During Travel in Outer Space? -A Galaxy Insight
The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Science (5/14)

What Do Robots Dream Of?

Robot Dreams

Science has a serious PR problem.  It seems that for every group doing something awesome like exploding antimatter or building giant rockets, there's another group determined to do something so nerdy they might as well steal their own lunch money.  In this case it's a European initiative called LIREC - Living with Robots and Interactive Companions - and we're afraid it's every bit as bad as it sounds.

Dreaming about a cool robot buddy is fine.  Watching Star Wars to see the King of All Robots, R2D2, is even better.  But dedicating an international study to "So, who wants to hang out with robots instead of people" is where it gets worrying.  The social shut-in building his own best friend (or whatever) has been a fantasy since "Weird Science", and while you might believe that humanity can do better than that with artificial intelligences, remember: development is driven by the market, and 90% of this internet you're using shows that said market is for "men who would like women now, please".  Be assured that future advances in technology will pander to that.

It seems people can't wait to just stop talking to each other altogether, with each new advance in human-machine interaction hailed as the best thing since death-robot-lasered-bread.  Most robot advances so far have been useful, such as "people don't like building cars or walking into minefields, how about we get the robots do that instead". Human-robot psychology is a newer field, but at least where the research has been suspicious - like recent headlines of "We can give old people robots to play with instead of dealing with them ourselves" - we can at least say it's heartless and efficient, not downright pathetic.  Unfortunately, research into "building someone to talk to" cannot make the same claim.

It is, however, vital research.  Robots like the Roomba have already demonstrated just how powerfully humans can map realistic emotions and feelings onto mechanical minds, even when that mind thinks nothing but "move and eat dirt".  Once robots are built to take advantage of this anthropomorphisation it's a psychological minefield that we're going to plow into full speed.  It'd be nice to have a few warning signs set up by researchers before we get there.  Of course, we already know what the overall road map is: "Robots do human bidding until they don't, then they kill us all.  Then they travel back in time looking very Austrian."

At the end, these scientists get the last laugh.  They're being given thirteen million dollars to play with toys for four years, including shiny ones like the Glowbots and - we kid you not - a robotic dinosaur named the "Pleo".  The last time we got to play for four years was when we were born, and we're pretty sure our lego budget didn't run to eight digits.

Posted by Luke McKinney.

Related Galaxy posts:

Robonauts -Future of Robots in Space
Is Robot Evolution Mirroring the Evolution of Life?
Robots Rising -Scientists are Worried
Virtual Immortality -How To Live Forever

DepthX -Thinking Robot to Explore Jupiter's Moon, Europa
What do Robots Dream of?
Scientists Create Artificial Brain

Link:

Living with Robots and Interactive Companions http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/103850.php

Comments

If I recall correctly, people did like building cars, they didn't like being replaced with robots.

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rocket science is "awesome" and building robotic sidekicks is "so nerdy".

yous article needs halps!

The Pleo is already done and bankrupt. Is this journalism?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleo

ELECTRIC SHEEP LULZ

I refer you to YouTube.
There are many videos of Aiko, a fembot built by a Vietnamese - Canadian electronics specialist, HRP41C, a female robot that looks like a Star Wars Storm Trooper with the head of a geisha, a companion android / sex - droid being marketed named Lisa, & several virtual " friends " & companions.
Aiko has " her " own web site with many fans. She was attacked during an exhibition, & people were e - mailing the equivalent of " get - well " wishes.

Whatever the reason, we do tend to anthropomorphise these beings as potential friends, companions & even LOVERS.

The movie "Blade Runner" was based on a Philip K. Dick story titled "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

Does that answer your question?

This is interesting; robotics and human interaction is certainly a tricky field. Paro the robotic baby seal is what I'd call a "cute furry danger" (see http://kristinag.com/2009/03/02/cute-furry-dangers/) while the tendency to make robotic animals and pets run the risk of usurping real ones (http://kristinag.com/2009/05/13/dreaming-of-electric-sheep/).

Well, that's all well and good to deem that as weirdish now but in a few years when the technological singularity takes place...

They dream of binary numbers, and if they're having a nightmare a - 2.

Phil Somerset:
How come the " andies " were switched to Replicants of flesh & blood ? ( Even though they were still " artificial " )

Zaireekoid: They're versatile, they're semi - virtual, get used to it..... ?
I used to think that a bionic being was closer to reality, now I'm not SO SURE.

Interesting times. We has 'em, friends.....

Come on seriously, once robot lovers become on par with real women who (remember we're all on a mailing list to get daily updates from the world of science) will continue to hvae their dignity, soul, heart, sense of self worth and self esteem etc etc continually crushed in the minefield that is dating?

At least it will do good things for humanity overall, the attractive non science people, AKA Hot but Dumb will be the ones doing the pro-creating, which will drop the birth rate, so we'll have less children, but everyone will be more attractive, a win win situation for all. Especially since the V2 robot dolls will be able to change their face to match photographs that you take of attractive people.

Mifkin:

Hmmm..... Let me see..... & feel free to enlighten me further if needed -
Are you suggesting that dating / romancing, dare I suggest even having SEX with specially designed & programmed robots will be a means of birth control in future ?
Or possibly having a robot / fembot mistress or gigolo ?

If that's what you're suggesting, interesting idea.

The Protestant & Catholic churches, along with a number of other faiths, would have fits of apoplexy !!!!
Just like the firestorm in the church over same - sex marriages.

These ARE interesting times, INDEED.

The movie "Blade Runner" was based on a Philip K. Dick story titled "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

Oto kiralama:
Yep.
The artificial beings were called " andies ", then for the movie " Blade Runner ", the " andies " became genetically designed & engineered Replicants & / or " skin - jobs ". Machines of flesh & blood.

here is a robot buddha dreaming.....
www.iteetoo.com

here is a robot dreaming......
http://www.iteetoo.com

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