Friday, September 14, 2007

I want to be a "real" boy!

I suppose the modern day Gepetto can be found in Texas, where David Hanson and his robotics company have created their own Pinochio. It's notable that the reference in the article is about artifical intelligence and modern science fiction, forgetting that the original idea of "creating" a person is much older.

Hanson seems to be more focused on entertainment and toys than a Frankenstein-like desire to animate the dead, but it does make me pause.

Why is the collective "we" of humanity so intent on creating human-like robots or puppets or some kind of artifical intelligence? Admittedly, the original is flawed, but has so much potential!

I am both fascinated and repulsed by the idea.

Robotics, Hanson believes, should be about artistic expression, a creative medium akin to sculpting or painting. But convincing people that robots should look like people instead of, well, robots, remains a challenge that robot experts call the "uncanny valley" theory. The theory posits that humans have a positive psychological reaction to robots that look somewhat like humans, but that robots made to look very realistic end up seeming grotesque instead of comforting.
And yet, I have to admit that robots do fascinate me. I ate up Isaac Asimov's series as a kid, and think Data is one of the most fascinating characters in the Star Trek universe. I'll be watching this closely.

1 comment:

Goldiefish said...

The created seems to long to be the Creator.