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Humanising Robots

Written By: admin on September 3, 2011 6 Comments

I was reading National Geographic and found an article called “Us. And Them.” which explored the subject of robots that are being created that can act like humans and relate to us as well as being able to think for themselves. This would allow us to improve productivity of some tasks, such as production lines, which are already utilizing basic robots to do labour tasks, but if a robot could think for itself then it could be in charge of the other robots on the production line, eliminating the need for a human to control the process. It would also allow us to avoid dangerous or hazardous tasks, as we would be able to use a robot to perform these, and as such there would hopefully be fewer accidents. One case that that the article highlights is that of HERB, short for Home Exploring Robotic Butler, which is being created with the view that in the not too distant future it would be able to help to care for people, such as the elderly among the population, much like we have home helpers nowadays.

That’s not what disturbs me. No, the project that disturbs me is the LifeNaut project in Vermont, USA. The LifeNaut project is exploring the concept of robot-human fusion as a technologically path to immortality. Bina48 is a robotic head created in the image of Bina Rothblatt, co-founder of LifeNaut. Bina48 is a talkative humanoid head that can interact freely with people. Kinda scary when you see it, as it looks exactly like a person. Personally, I think it’s wrong to make a robot look like a human, as it blurs the boundaries between humanity and technology and that can’t end well in my opinion. Take the latest series of Dr Who, where the “Gangers” were created to look exactly like their human counterparts, the only problem being that since they look and act like humans and believe they are humans, they wish to remove the “oppressers” that control them. Also, one of the Doctors companions was replaced without people being any the wiser. Scary

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