I agree, taimoortariq. An astronaut/robot conversation aboard the ISS, with the appropriate emotional content, is an ideal test bed for this type of technology. Also astrounauts might be less "freaked out" by the humanoid form of the robot.
Agreed, taimoortariq. Those fears need to be broken down. There's actually a well-known phenomenon called the "uncanny valley," which essentially describes the point at which a robot gives humans the creeps. Some engineers are trying to find ways to eleiminate that uncanny valley. (see link about uncanny valley below)
I agree mrdon, scifi movies are portraying a negative image of humanoids, the have instilled a sense of fear in the public. It is very important that this hostile feeling among the masses be removed through the creation and promotion of friendly robots, having friendly gestures with humanly emotions in them. Just like this toyota humanoid is contributing towards the promotion of a friendly image of humanoids.
Charles, I do see some potential behind the robot for space travelers as an entertainment element and companion while being a million miles away from people. The vision of robots and humans co-existing is truly in its infancy stage but its going to take society to have an open mind to accept this concept. Sci-fi movies protraying robots dominating society will continued to be in the front matter of the majority of people thus resisting acceptance to these machines as being equal partners and companions. Baxter, Marilyn Monrobot, and other societal robots are the ambassadors to break down this wall of fear and resistance of man co-existing with intelligent machines. Great article and video Charles!
Yes, I think you've homed in on the other big part of the story, taimoortariq. Being on the ISS for months can be a pretty lonely task. I would imagine astronauts will be happy to have the company, even if it is the company of a robot.
It may seem far-fetched but I think it would make a great plot for a Sci-Fi movie. Imagine a 13-inch high robotic mix of Hannibal Lecter (minus the cannibalism, of course) and HAL wreaking havoc in space, hacking the Earth's internet, then taking over the NSA's equivalent of Skynet (shades of Terminator). But all is not lost - Earth's salvation is a group of engineers armed with the only computational tool left on the planet not under the control of the 13-inch menace - a slide rule. But who can teach them how to unlock its power? The quest begins to seek out the curmudgeonly retired Yoda-like engineer named...... You get the idea.
It is great that they have moved from the idea of simple conversations towards more humanly conversations by including emotions in it and removing the element of typical robotic conversation. And also it is nice to see astrounauts being acompanied by robots that would be sympathetic towards them, it will be good for them to have something to have fun with in such a lonely environment.
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