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Slideshow: These Bots Were Made for Walking

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Elizabeth M
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Re: Walk all over me..
Elizabeth M   1/28/2014 12:30:38 PM
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You know, it´s funny, Cabe, I have done some coverage of this and it almost seems like people are more comfortable with robots that look like robots, if you know what I mean--versus robots that are more human. Although people seem to have more empathy for robots that look more human, which is maybe what can freak them out a bit. But I think it´s the actual human appearance of some robots that make people uncomfortable with them, throwing off their entire perspective of what a robot should be (even though of course we have seen human-like robots in scifi for a long time).

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Walk all over me..
Ann R. Thryft   1/28/2014 12:24:29 PM
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etmax, I understand your POV. But assuming that *life* must happen when the right naturally occurring chemicals and environment exist is a very, very long way from assuming that *sentience* must happen when artificial constructs are made by humans. I'm not sure which model you mean would be flawed if that proved not to work. I think the model that assumes *sentience (= self-awareness)* must happen when artificial constructs are made by humans is definitely flawed and shows a lack of understanding of the complexities of nature and evolution. It's also flawed from a philosophical standpoint (meaning primarily the theory of emergence).

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Walk all over me..
Ann R. Thryft   1/28/2014 12:15:07 PM
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It's been observed that people in Asia, especially Japan, are much more accepting of robots in general, and don't seem to get as freaked out by human-looking/speaking robots. We cover this to some extent in Is It a Human, a Robot, or an Android? http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=270169 So perhaps the uncanny valley is to some extent culturally determined.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Walk all over me..
Ann R. Thryft   1/28/2014 12:08:29 PM
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etmax, you're welcome and glad you enjoyed the slideshow. Reducing actuators does reduce processing load, but it can also make movements more awkward and less fluid. So it depends on the goal of the design.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Walk all over me..
Elizabeth M   1/28/2014 11:15:40 AM
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Yes, etmax, I completely understand where you´re coming from and you´re right, there are cultural limitations to these sorts of technologies that need to be overcome in the United States so we can utilize these innovations to the fullest. And you´re right, Japan and the U.S. (in terms of technologically advanced countries) are probably on polar opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of this. But I think things are changing in the U.S., albeit slowly.

etmax
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Re: Walk all over me..
etmax   1/27/2014 6:24:37 PM
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Hi Ann, I tend to agree with you in part. While computers of the conventional ilk dominate there is little or no chance that sentience will arise, but if one considers the work being done in biological inspired computiing the future is not quite so clear. If we design computers modelled on a biological brain to the nth degree, I think sentience almost must happen or the model is flawed. This is the same line of thinking that drives scientists to spend inordinate amounts of money into SETI research because life MUST happen if the the ingredients are all there. Mind you I am talking about computers that can not yet be built.

etmax
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Re: Walk all over me..
etmax   1/27/2014 6:15:23 PM
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Hi Elizabeth, please don't get me wrong, with spiralling health care costs and an aging population what the Japanese are doing is possibly the only solution, and I actually believe that doing unpopular things for essential outcomes is a noble pursuit of government, (slippery slope of course, Saddam Hussein probably made similar claims) I was merely highlighting the obstacles that need to be overcome. I also meant no disrespect to the Japanese, I have a great deal of admiration for them. I was merely making observation on some of the cultural issues at stake. I chose the US and Japan as probably the 2 greatest contrasts on this subject. Of course I'm sure there are quite a few people in the US that would find it cool, I can't help but feel that a majority will balk at the idea if the robots get too "real". Maybe I'm wrong, but I listen to a lot of people's opinions do develop that understanding.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Walk all over me..
Elizabeth M   1/27/2014 8:52:37 AM
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Well maybe the Japanese are on to something, and it would be a shame if our culture in the United States prevents us from innovating. While there is still an uncanny valley element to consider, robots can be very helpful in these type of care situations, so their use can be beneficial. Perhaps steps should be taken to get people accustomed to them to avoid these type of potential lawsuits you mention, etmax, so the U.S. can be on the same par with robotic innovation as our friends in Japan.

etmax
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Re: Walk all over me..
etmax   1/20/2014 8:34:50 PM
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That's very Japanese, they don't care if people are freaked or the people don't believe they are allowed to be freaked. Look to the US where they might get sued for freaking someone out :-)

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Walk all over me..
Cabe Atwell   1/20/2014 5:35:06 PM
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Japan is already using human-like robots in their nursing and medical fields. The question is whether you're comfortable with one looking human or prefer the more Terminator aesthetic. 

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