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Posts tagged ‘robots’

Dear Robot Developers: Why Do You Want Your Creations to Kill Us All?

I was talking to someone the other day about a documentary from HotDocs called “Mechanical Love“. One of the themes the film touches on is how Japan has an official initiative of Robot integration to replace their rapidly ageing population (by 2055, over 40% of the population will be older than 65).

One of the engineers in the film (I think working on a guide robot for shopping malls) talked about how difficult it is to program certain basic empathic processes, such as recognizing that someone is disoriented or separated from their group, and in need of assistance.

While I’m no robophobe (heck one of my best friends growing up was Robo-Canadian) may I kindly suggest to engineers worldwide that programming robots which can recognize when someone is disoriented or separated from their group is a terrible idea. Because while you’re doing that, these guys are making terrifying all-terain quadrepeds (seriously check out the point in the video where ice, piles of rubble, and kicking the thing over don’t even slow it down)… and these guys are perfecting terrifying teddy-bear heads, and using people as human sheilds, and we know they’ve already mastered speaking to us in a soothing manner while planning to kill us all.

What I’m really getting at here is you think they don’t all talk to each other and pool their new abilities?. I have seen the future and it is not one I’m entirely comfortable with:

Confidential to Disney / Pixar PR & Marketing – A Proposed Deal Regarding WALL-E…

Presumably your corporate fiefdoms contain (somewhere) a vast staff who does nothing but Google your various interests all day, in order to quantify and relay “the buzz” of people with websites in lovely digest reports. I desperately cling to this belief (come on Google spider – hook a brother up).

I have nothing of any consequence to add to the already widespread discussion (and near-unanimous love-fest) of your current feature film. I viewed it seated next to a little girl – I’d guess she was about eight? Maybe? She was extremely tired upon arriving which troubled me as sleep deprived and cranky children seem to be an increasing trend at the late movies I frequent.

(A digression: Hey Parents! Your kids do not want to see 10pm movies. They want to be sleeping. They are children. It is your job to say things like “I want to see the movie too sweetie, but we’ll go tomorrow”. The film will still be playing then. It is a Pixar movie. It will still be playing at Christmas.)

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