The evolution of robots and androids, it seems, is progressing at an exponential rate. Collaborative research, the development of robotic technologies and AI together are putting ‘droids in hotels and airports. Soon, like Alexa, our homes.
This week’s Particle Debris isn’t just one notable article, but a series of articles that tell an evolutionary story. Let’s dig in.
Hanson Robotics specializes in bringing robots to life through facial animation. One of their robots was showcased by Business Insider. “This lifelike robot could be straight out of ‘Westworld’ — and it really freaked us out.”
Back in April, I wrote about a project by a single person, Ricky Ma, to build a lifelike humanoid. In that case, it was Scarlett Johansson. What’s progressed from that, it seems, is Hanson Robotics ability to express human emotions via facial expressions. Watch the video at BI to see how far we’ve come in less than a year.
The next item reminds us that technology is moving faster than social norms and statutes. “Are We Destined to Fall in Love with Androids?” I read a story about a man who married his iPhone, [to send a message to all] and so a relationship with a fully functional, intelligent android doesn’t seem all that far-fetched anymore.
Many of the issues science fiction writers first brought up are now crashing in on us. Let’s start with the basic question. “Since robots can, by design, live forever, what are the ethics involved in designing a kill switch?” The discussion is here: “Killing the immortal: Why scientists are debating the life span of robots.”
I read an article about mail-order android brides. If the owner becomes dissatisfied, a replacement is ordered. What if the android forms an attachment to the owner and doesn’t want to be re-initialized and recycled? There was a Star Trek Voyager episode, The Swarm, that dealt with that topic indirectly.
Where is Apple in all this? I have wondered myself. It seems Apple would rather spend money competing with Netflix on original TV content.
Going to a smaller scale, we’re also rapidly developing small robots for various specialized tasks. Here’s just the beginning, I think.
Here’s another small robot that could come in handy. “I Love This Robot That Kills Mosquitos With A Laser.” I can imagine a small robot that has sharp teeth, great discovery skills and a taste for termites and spiders.
Perhaps we’ll need to add exterminators to the list of jobs that are threatened by robots. Or perhaps the job changes. The robots are leased and managed by a human agency. One can’t own them all.
Exercise for the student. Develop artwork that marries the above two physical design concepts, a bug on legs with a laser. (I’m sure the U.S. military already has.)
Do Androids dream of electric humans?
Next page: The news debris for the week of January 30th. You can never be too thin. Unless you’re a MacBook Pro.