Friday, March 10, 2006

Emotional Reactions to Robots

At first I thought it was just me. Watching a recent video of a new 'pack-mule' robot (nicknamed BigDog) being tested by the US military, I suddenly began feeling pity.

I know it's just a machine. But during testing inside a small room, when a researcher kicked it to demonstrate how it recovers with an animal-like fluidity, I was secretly wishing it would kick back. But it also moves like 2 torso-less people trying to move a couch. That made me laugh.

Both of those responses came directly from the animal-like motion. And this highly complex movement is a sign of how advanced robotics is becoming.

This discussion on Digg has several posts describing emotional reactions to the vid.

Update: Mar 17 2008 Check out BigDog on ice, snow, climbing over cinder blocks, jumping and more.

Want to see more creepy robot motion? See the tree climbing robot that moves and looks like a cockroach that recently crawled out of university research labs. Others move like spiders and snakes.

Robots Are Evolving In Chunks

High quality reusable intelligent robot functions are hitting the market. Both the legwork of BigDog and the stability of the 2 wheeled Segway base have been adopted by the US military.

Also consider face recognition. Indeed, all of the senses, abilities and aptitudes found in nature are being reproduced and implanted into machines.

Robots of all kinds will very soon be everywhere while getting smarter very fast.

Marshall Brain's excellent read on the approaching impact of robots can be found here.