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Should Robots Look Like People or Machines?

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ChasChas
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Gold
Saving face
ChasChas   2/2/2012 10:17:38 AM
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We like to comunicate with faces. Humanlike interaction works better with a face and a name to comunicate to. A screen with a face is probably suficient. Remote access should pop up a face for ID etc. Above all, make it fun/real.

PicoCycle
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Iron
Should Robots look like people or machines
PicoCycle   2/2/2012 10:33:49 AM
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If I can borrow from Isaac Asimov, a humanoid robot is basically the best idea because we will feel less threatened. The reason for this, is that they can sit behind the wheel of our car or atop our tractor and perform the same function as a human. Because we choose to let them perform this task and we can take over at any time, we are not threatened by them.

Hawk84
User Rank
Iron
Re: Saving face
Hawk84   2/2/2012 10:37:10 AM
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I want my robot to be functional and have everything that I need. Specifically, it needs eyes in the back of its head, 4 arms, stable platform that has soft flexible tracks that can negotiate hardwood floors, carpeted stairs, mow my grass, get my mail, vacuum,  do dishes, clean the cat litter, and charge itself.  It also needs to be water proof.  I dont care if it is male, female, both or neither.  It also needs capability of a simple personal assistant that knows the weather, todays meetings, time of todays Cub game, and where my car keys are!!!

Battar
User Rank
Platinum
Humanoid Robots - human treatment
Battar   2/2/2012 11:01:13 AM
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Charles Murray - Judgung from the photo accompanying the article, the 2000 engineers were trasnfixed by Heather Knight, not her robot.

If robots looked like humans, humans would regularly punch them when they did something wrong. Context is important too. Humans would look out of place in some of the environments robots work in (can you imagine a humanoid pool cleaning robot, for example?)

sensor pro
User Rank
Gold
Re: Saving face
sensor pro   2/2/2012 11:14:15 AM
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Wow. Could have not said it beter myself. well done.

I think we have to be more concerned with function and not the looks.

On the other side if the function is lowe level supervision of children, ie: to be present on the floor and monitor movement of kids within a restricted space and making sure that they are not to close to the exit door or other restricted area, I guess the robot should not be too scary.

For pure industrial applications I care for the function.

HBJimmy
User Rank
Iron
Free Market Faces
HBJimmy   2/2/2012 12:03:56 PM
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"The Market" is best at driving these things.  Factory automation robots look like giant arms because that was the fastest/best design at the time.  I, like many engineers, feel that a robot should be best designed for what it does, not necessarily how it looks.  But once you have a faceless robot serving beer in a bar and people start wigging out about how ugly it is, you will see how important that kind of design work becomes.  The bar down the street features foxy robot waitresses and they are doubling our revenue, etc etc.

Google "uncanny" and check the "uncanny curve" results that pop up.  The uncanny curve was created in 1970.  I can tell you what Japanese robot designers were probably trying to do in 1970, and it probably wasn't making a robot that vacuums rugs.  This probably explains the revulsion factor.  I've seen pictures of Japanese sexbots and they are truly revolting looking.  There's your Market, again.

With new designers unfettered by the cracking whip of upper management, we'll see better and better designs.  And whether the 2025 uBot looks more like Heather Knight or more like her Monrobot will probably be determined by... anyone?  anyone?

naperlou
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Blogger
Re: Should Robots look like people or machines
naperlou   2/2/2012 12:14:01 PM
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I am not sure I agree that having a humanoid robot drive the car or the tractor is useful.  We really are not short of humans.  Actually, the trend in farm machinery (tractors and combine) is that they can be set on autopilot and basically drive themselves once they are programmed.  I think we will see the machines have more of an ability to do things themselves with or without a human.  Another example would be aircraft with an autopilot. 

I, personally, do not see much of a need for human-like robots.  I guess I have read too many science fiction books on the topic (including the I, Robot series).  It really reminds me of computers.  For as long as we have had them people have been predicting that they will "think".  Computer Scientists like to point to artifical intelligence as an end point.  They point out that humans do some things better than computers (like vision processing).  On the other hand, computers do many things much better than humans.  These also tend to be things humans (on the whole) do not like to do.  The synergy between humans and computers is very powerful.  We complement each other. 

apresher
User Rank
Blogger
Work at GM/NASA and ABB
apresher   2/2/2012 1:44:57 PM
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Humanoid robots that could potentially be used in the future for applications such as automotive assembly are being developed by a joint GM/NASA partnership, and ABB has a concept humanoid robot called FRIDA.  Interesting stuff working through the complexities of robots that could implement safety systems that would enable them to work closely with human workers.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Saving face
Rob Spiegel   2/2/2012 2:58:00 PM
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I'm not so sure a humanoid appearance is necessary for automated services. Again, I used the analogy of the automated teller machine. This device has been magnificently successful, replacing countless human tellers. Many people prefer it to a human teller. And it has no human attributes. I think arbitrary human attributes are creepy.

ChasChas
User Rank
Gold
Re: Saving face
ChasChas   2/2/2012 3:29:15 PM
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I assumed we were talking about a more advanced "robot" than a gorified cash register (ATM).

Let's replace the teller in general with a robot. I would like to talk to a face when I discuss and establish my accounts and make loans. Plus I have a hearing problem and I need to speech read. Save the face!

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