Tuesday, January 05, 2016

"Creepy" Robot Receptionist?

Yeah, kinda. Sorta. In a way. Or not. What do you think?:
Does this “humanlike” robot receptionist make you feel welcome or creeped out?
From a distance, Nadine looks like a very normal middle-aged woman, with a sensible haircut and dress style, and who’s probably all caught up on Downton Abbey. But then you hear Nadine talk and move, and you notice something’s a bit off. Nadine is actually the construct of Nadia Thalmann, the director of the Institute for Media Innovation at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. She’s a robot that’s meant to serve as a receptionist for the university.
Thalmann modeled the robot after herself, and said that, in the future, robots like Nadine will be commonplace, acting like physical manifestations of digital assistants like Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana. “This is somewhat like a real companion that is always with you and conscious of what is happening,” Thalmann said in a release.

Nadine can hold a conversation with real humans, and will remember someone’s face the next time she sees him. She can even remember what she spoke about with the person the last time they met. NTU said in its release that Nadine’s mood will depend on the conversations she’s having with others, much like a human’s mood can change. There’s no word on what she’d do in a bad mood, though—hopefully she won’t be able to close pod bay doors, or commit murder. Perhaps when the robot uprising happens, we won’t even see it coming, as they’ll all look just like us. [...]
The article goes on to talk about how the evolution of these robots is likely to continue, as they get better and even become commonplace. Read the whole thing for photos, video, and many embedded links. Do watch the video, it's short. I have to admit it's the most life-like robot I've ever seen.

I said it was "kinda" creepy because it looks so life-like, yet is not alive, and I'm not used to that. Talking to "life-like" things. But I suppose if it becomes commonplace, one would get used to it as normal. But more than "kinda creepy", it's ... pretty darn kewl! Commander Data, here we come...

Here is another link to a similar robot by another scientist:

The highest-paid woman in America is working on robot clones and pigs with human DNA
[...] Rothblatt also explained how she hired a team of robotic scientists to create a robot that was a “mind clone” of her wife, Bina Aspen.

Starting with a “mindfile”—a digital database of a person’s mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, and values gleaned from social media, email, videos, and other sources—Rothblatt’s team created a robot that can converse, write Tweets, and even express human emotions such as jealousy and pain in ways that mimic the person she was modeled after.

When Bina’s mortal self dies, Rothblatt said the robot version of her wife will live on, making it possible for “our identity to begin to transcend our bodies.”

It sounds like science fiction until you see photos of the robot, see her tweet, and hear snippets from her conversations that made audience members gasp and chuckle nervously as they realized Rothblatt was talking about more than just an idea. [...]
Read the whole thing for embedded links and more. And get ready for the Brave New World. It's closer than you think.

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