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National Geographic Gets Acquainted With Social Robots

National Geographic Magazine has published an article and photo gallery online from their August issue (available July 26th), in which writer Chris Carroll and photographer Max Aguilera-Hellweg visit a number of labs to meet some of the world’s most famous robots and their human creators.  They’ve got the inside scoop on how researchers at Carnegie Mellon tried to make Kokoro’s Actroid-DER more believable.  The article is a fun read, and the photos make use of a Caravaggio-esque lighting which really makes for some outstanding portraits of the robots, so be sure to check out the source link below!

“In five or ten years robots will routinely be functioning in human environments,” says Reid Simmons, a professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon.

Such a prospect leads to a cascade of questions. How much everyday human function do we want to outsource to machines? What should they look like? … How will the robot revolution change the way we relate to each other?

In short: Are we ready for them? Are they ready for us?”

I believe the answer to those last two questions is pretty simple: no, and no.  At least, not the type of robots we like the most.  You’ll see robots like the Roomba becoming more and more common, but humanoids are still much further away than 10 years.  Which is probably for the best, because by then people should be ready for them.

Excerpt used with permission of National Geographic Magazine.

[source: National Geographic Magazine]

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