Robots Among Us

Amazing Robot Reality, or Techno Puppet Show? – Gizmodo

Technology really is coming a long way. I’ve recently started tuning in to Gizmodo in my Google Reader ((I had Engadget there for a while, as well, but the two tech news services cover pretty much exactly the same news and the redundancy was annoying me.)) and have, as such, been keeping abreast with a lot of the latest and greatest in the tech industry. This article highlights a very lifelike robot that has the ability to interact with real people and track them visually. It’s a stunning bit of technology that indicates that something along the lines of androids may not be as far into the distant future as we think. The video is pretty neat to watch. For something powered by batteries and software, Jules waxes quite the philosopher.

From a psychological and social standpoint, I kind of thought that the behaviors of the people interacting with him were a bit disturbing. It could be it was all scripted for the sake of the video, but they certainly sounded genuine enough. It was just kind of weird seeing real, live people interacting with a non-living object as though it were actually sentient. Strange. It certainly calls up some interesting questions should such robots ever actually be created.

I’d love to know more about the project and get an idea of the scope of the software that makes Jules work. The level of programming involved in making that thing look and act so authentically is staggering. I may have to find time later to go check out the website and read up a bit. I’d be curious to hear your comments on Jules.

6 thoughts on “Robots Among Us”

  1. geez jim, why dontcha take over my comments!
    yeah, so i’m not so convinced it’s strange to see ppl interacting like this. Don’t children do the same with stuffed animals? I’d say there’s also a parallel between advanced robotic ‘creatures’ and pets.. that’ll be the line crossed first. Rover croaks, Robover fries his circuits. Same thing. And haven’t you seen “Short Circuit”??

  2. Yeah, I’m a comment spammer. ;-)

    Fair points. It’s one thing to see it in a movie, where it’s clear that the robot is fully sentient; it’s quite another to see it in real life where it’s not. For me the most disturbing part was where the lady stroked Jules’ arm, as if he’d feel it (though it probably did register the gesture and even use it as visual feedback in its responses). I have to agree with the Gizmodo guys – creepy.

  3. agreed.. when it’s borderline and not fully believable, it’s the same kidna creepy as an old man.. “he’s lost it” / “lights on, no one’s home”

  4. That’s kind of scary. Everyone’s pretending to be all teary-eyed and emotional for the robot man who doesn’t understand why he’s being turned off and put in a box.

    I have to admit, the idea of desinging a robot (or even just simply a AI chat program( that can pass turing’s test intregues me. Not sure what all the ramifications. There’s a difference between “can” and “should”.

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