Monday, November 21, 2011

Rocking Robots

Maybe the future is coming after all.

Just like Z's birthday, by the way, which is tomorrow.
Happy Birthday, Z!

Have you seen these little Asimo robot guys that the Honda-Robotics  people are developing?  They’re so lifelike—at least in a robot kind of way—you’d swear there was a little person jumping around inside a robot suit.

So maybe having little robot maids, like The Jetson’s Rosie, isn’t all that far off, after all.

They kind of resemble those Storm Trooper guys from the original Star Wars, except they’re only about 4 feet tall, which is good since you want your robot Storm Troopers to be on the diminutive side.  Especially when they’re still in the planning stage and who knows what can happen.

They’ve been ironing the kinks out of these little fellas since about 2000. Apparently, all they did, originally, was wave their arms around, wildly, shouting, “It does not compute… It does not compute…Danger...Danger....”

Now they serve drinks, jump around on one foot—I guess just cuz they can—step around you when you get in their way, anticipate your every move and adjust their behavior, appropriately to satisfy your every need.

Just like being married…without the attitude.

Personally, I like that whole waiting on you hand and foot thing.  You don’t see a lot of  hand and foot waiting going on around here…at least not at my house. How great would it be to have a robot lay out your clothes, pour you a drink, even prepare you a late night snack…actually late at night. All the things I’ve been secretly conditioning Z to do for years, without much success, I might add. That whole bell ringing conditioning thing only seems to work on dogs, plus the salivation issues are not particularly desirable. 

Right now, these little guys walk around like Howdy Doody, with these perpetually flexed knees; so that’s a bit creepy. But they seem to be pretty nimble and I’m figuring they’ll work that out pretty soon.  I’m not sure if they talk at all, though you might not really want a chatty robot telling you all about its day, complaining about this and complaining about that. I think we should leave something for us to do...especially something we’re good at.

I’m also guessing that eventually they’ll figure out a way to lose the little Storm Trooper look and come up with a more lifelike human shell. Maybe with some sort of highly advanced synthetic skin and hair, so advanced that we would never be able to tell them apart from real people, except for their consisitently pleasant demeanor and willingness to let you cut ahead of them on the express line, even when you have more than 15 items.

Actually, I read where they already have that capability but don’t utilize it for fear it might creep the real humans out.  But have you seen Mickey Rourke these days.  It makes you wonder.

Seriously, another company called Hanson Robotics  has created this little Albert Einstein robot, that looks and sounds just like the real thing…except, again,  he’s only 4 feet tall and pretty much still resembles the storm trooper from the neck down. Plus he’s always going on and on with that relativity thing, which annoys the other scientists to no end.

Enough, Albert…we get it already!

It’s just kind of exciting to think about all the possibilities.

I’m imagining a little Jennifer Aniston robot…uh, bringing me a sandwich.  

A tiny Tom Cruise, which I think would be to actual scale, outside stacking my firewood, just because I don’t want him in the house with me and Jenifer.

Oprah…just so she can comfort me when I feel sad, and tell me what books to read.

The Osmond’s….

Gary Busey, just for kicks.

The list is endless….

Of course we have to be mindful of the down side to all this.  I mean if they keep making better and better robots that are smarter than us, stronger than us, cheaper than us…why would we need us?  And how long do you think it will take these machines to figure that out?

I guess that’s what Arnold Schwarzenegger is for.  But has anyone looked under his hood lately?

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