Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Robotics Hardware

Why the US Consumer Doesn't Deserve A Decent Robot 311

Posted by Zonk
from the little-dire-don't-you-think dept.
SkinnyGuy writes "PC Magazine has up a lengthy look at how differing cultural approaches and expectations for robots are setting the stage for Amercian consumers to miss out on the best robots have to offer. The first paragraph is kind of funny: 'Someday the robots will rise up and kill us all. They'll record our lives, obliterate our privacy, set off nuclear war, and eventually turn on us and eat our brains. If any of this ever did happen, it would serve us right. We, at least American consumers, don't deserve the future that robots really have to offer.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Why the US Consumer Doesn't Deserve A Decent Robot

Comments Filter:
  • by miffo.swe (547642) <`daniel.hedblom' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:29PM (#21284881) Homepage Journal
    Is the United States current president really a robot from the future?
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:32PM (#21284919) Homepage
      No, he's a robot from the past.

      Don't ask, it's complicated.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by davidsyes (765062)
        Where the hell is Captain Braxton from the Federation Timeship Aeon when we need him. Ah, he's and Janeway are probably discussion the finer points of alternative slipstreams, conduits, and such.

        I say this president is a Vidiian, wraped in Kazon skin, cocooned by Talosian reconstructive techniques, and brought here by Gary Seven by mistake. It escaped and avoided the draft to Vietnam and bided its time until its masters from another part of the uniwerse installed it as occupant of the alienated, umm, alien
    • by Apple Acolyte (517892) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:33PM (#21284931)
      Wait a second, Al Gore isn't president.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2007 @03:01PM (#21285291)
        His al-gore-ithms weren't quite up to the task, I guess.
  • same story (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tsjaikdus (940791)
    The general public didn't care for the computer either, until it could do MSN.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by scottrocket (1065416)
      I do remember a time when I would talk on and on about computers in everybody's household - and get blank stares. Com-pew--ter? I suspect the current generation of kids will embrace anthropomorphised(sic) robots in about ten-twenty years; but more likely we will see a gradual introduction of small, robot cars. Just speculation, I haven't any magic crystal ball-but I was right about computers! :)
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by bdjacobson (1094909)

        I do remember a time when I would talk on and on about computers in everybody's household - and get blank stares. Com-pew--ter? I suspect the current generation of kids will embrace anthropomorphised(sic) robots in about ten-twenty years; but more likely we will see a gradual introduction of small, robot cars. Just speculation, I haven't any magic crystal ball-but I was right about computers! :)

        I think there's a lot of us out there right now willing to embrace anthropomorphised robots.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      FTFA:

      American robot consumers have yet to comprehend the cost of the programming and mechanical complexity necessary to create effective, realistic, interactive robots.

      This could just have easily been titled "Why the US Consumer Doesn't Deserve a Viper." Anyone who thinks that we should be buying robots regardless of the price is an idiot. He cites the success of the Roomba and says that, were it a bipedal, humanoid-looking robot holding a vacuum hose, it wouldn't have done as well. That's one of those "Duh" moments for me. If it were a robot with a vacuum hose, anyone would be able to see that they wasted time and energy on making it look human rather than making i

  • by User 956 (568564) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:35PM (#21284957) Homepage
    PC Magazine has up a lengthy look at how differing cultural approaches and expectations for robots are setting the stage for Amercian consumers to miss out on the best robots have to offer.

    Look, they have stairs in their houses, and we have stairs in our houses. What's so hard about this?
    • by jeffkjo1 (663413)
      Look, they have stairs in their houses, and we have stairs in our houses. What's so hard about this?

      My robot has telescoping legs to lift me to the second floor.
    • ... to not trust the pusher robot. I am here to protect you.
    • by PhxBlue (562201)

      Look, they have stairs in their houses, and we have stairs in our houses.
      Daleks don't climb stairs -- they level the building.
  • But ..... (Score:5, Funny)

    by taniwha (70410) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:37PM (#21284973) Homepage Journal
    those on top have been saying that about their home help for millenia .... "the robots will rise up" is exactly what the romans were worried about ..... cue long line of Blender look-a-likes heading for the scrap heap saying "I am Sparticus"
  • by StringBlade (557322) * on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:38PM (#21284979) Journal

    Why would a robot want to eat our brains exactly?

    Unless you're talking about ZOMBIE robots, in which case I'll have to update my Zombie Plan [roosterteeth.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:43PM (#21285039)
    His point seems to be that Americans are threatened by robots with personality.

    Back up the truck. American's recognize that personality is an unneeded and costly add on for robots. A roomba with a head and arms that walked around and vacuumed my house wouldn't threaten anything other than my banking account. The frisbee shaped roombas already cost too much. There is no way in hell I'm going to pay extra for personality.

    Clue to the author:

    Unless you are building a sex toy, giving a robot human (or animal) shape is expensive and pointless. Don't blame Americans for seeing through this.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Fx.Dr (915071)
      "Unless you are building a sex toy, giving a robot human (or animal) shape is expensive and pointless"

      Wait, what?

      Um...

      So... how much longer until legislation catches up with that fringe market?
    • by Bryansix (761547)
      Word. Plus Portal already shows that American's don't get attached to Robots. Especially ones that try to kill them.
    • by Bob-taro (996889)

      Back up the truck. American's recognize that personality is an unneeded and costly add on for robots.

      That's a good point. He talks about how much more Japan embraces anthropomorphic (or "animal-morphic"?) robots. Japan also has ATM machines with color screens that depict big-eyed female cartoon bank tellers bowing to you and female voices talking to you. It's just a different culture. It sounds like the author just REALLY, REALLY likes realistic robots and doesn't understand why some people don't value them as much.

  • by NeMon'ess (160583) * <flinxmid&yahoo,com> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:45PM (#21285069) Homepage Journal
    Americans are going to get robots made at rock bottom prices with shoddy programming because people are too cheap to buy a quality model. Bloomingdales or Macys will have decent models, but Target and Wal Mart are going to have the crappy models.
  • Killbot (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Migylesa Rex (1148337) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:45PM (#21285073)
    I consider android-esque robots to be both fascinating and utterly terrifying. It's an impressive technology, and the uses for it are nigh endless. However, putting robots into the hands of the average american? America has been a DIY nation from the start, so it's feasable that the technically savvy/wealthy crazies out there would be able to modify or buy modified robots. They could make armed robots with a skin (ever seen those "real dolls"?)that could resemble a human from a distance or to a glancing eye, or who knows what else. I don't think they'll rise against us, I just don't want people to have them.
    • human-form robots (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      And here I was thinking that the ends of anthropomorphic robots, are nigh useless.

      Really, the point of robots is that they are modular and versatile. The human-form is only optimal if you're constrained to a one-size-fits-all spec, as genetics and natural selection are implicitly in the notion of species.

      And as far as dangers from wealthy crazies with malicious intent, just think a bit about bioweapons and you'll find much more pressing worries than these far-off Philip Dick-novel wannabes. Hell, if I were
  • by moogied (1175879) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:50PM (#21285135)
    However..

    The consumer robotics market is not going to explode. American consumers simply aren't mature enough. Instead, the future of robotics will, for the next decade or so, be a story of embedded technologies

    The entire article focuses around this point. The idea that robots will some day become common place. That we will have "robot repair centers" and the like(Although he never mentioned that in the article, he hints at this kind of common place usage in other countries). The simple fact of the matter is that even the "best level" consumer robotics are horribly unuseful. The only useful one is the vacuum robot.

    I work with robotics as a hobby, and consider myself a little above a "novice" in applied robotics. The issue at hand today is not a technological one, is it an inspiritional one. Try and think of a useful robot.

    Go ahead, do it.

    What did you come up with? If you're like most people the idea of a robotic butler("Bring me a beer robot jeeves"), perhaps a robotic lawn mower, maybe even a robotic gaurd who patrols your house.

    The problem is that all of these already exist in various forms.

    Take for example the robotic butler. Lets say you are watching football and you want a beer. You would simply hit "beer" on your remote and the little robot would wander off. Lets say it takes him 45 seconds to get it and bring it over. You can do it in 15. Also, you can go to the bathroom while you're up. So the only time it would be very useful is when you are being lazy and want to "veg".

    So would you spend say 400$ on this robotic butler simply to be lazy? Is buying an ice chest and ice really that hard?

    What of the gaurd robot? People buy dogs for this normally, or alarms. Both are easy to use, fufilling(dogs at least), and relatively wide used.

    Robots are not popular in america because A. We don't need them for day to day activities. B. We already have conviences we enjoy, and most people do not want to be so lazy as to never move. C. The majority of America is only now becoming PC enabled.. try making them robot enabled. D. There are no good robot needs.

    Suggested mods:

    1. Troll

    2. Flamebait.

    Suggest responses:

    1. Nub.

    2. You're an idiot, your argument makes no sense and furthermore I would love robot that does

    • by p0tat03 (985078)
      IMHO home robotics is less about human replacement, but more about human enhancement. I for one want my thermostat to warm up the house before I get up each morning, have my coffee waiting, and have rice (I'm Asian, sue me) ready by the time I get home from work. I would also like my garage door to open when I start the car, and close behind me when I leave. For most people this is a "no duh, we can already do all those things very well", but that's just my point - robotics in the form of humanoid bipeds wa
      • by jedidiah (1196)
        My thermostat already does that.

        My coffee maker already does that.

        My garage door opener already does that.

        You don't need a robo woman to set the thermostat, or
        setup the coffee maker for the next morning. Although
        a proper robo-cook would have to make C3PO look downright
        primitive.

        C3PO couldn't even manage rice. Nevermind something that's
        more than measuring 2 ingredients and turning a switch on
        the right tool.

        I'm surprised the Japanese don't already have a rice cooker
        with a timer activated water reservoir. It w
    • by feepness (543479)

      2. You're an idiot, your argument makes no sense and furthermore I would love robot that does
      I would pay $400 for a robot that flicks the sensor in our new baby from "I'm in a seat/crib/swing, scream bloody murder." to "I'm being held, sleep."
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) *
        I think the device you're looking for is called a "nanny." Although they may be available for purchase in other parts of the world for $400, that is unfortunately prohibited by law here, and importation or acquisition on the gray market is strongly discouraged.

        There are, however, models available for lease, rental, or timeshare at affordable prices, with correspondingly varied quality.
    • by Bogtha (906264)

      Try and think of a useful robot.

      • Dog walking
      • Cooking (make me a BLT, lay the table, pack the kids' lunches for school the next day).
      • Cleaning (clean the shower, do the vacuuming, do the dusting).
      • Driving (I want to catch up on my email during the drive to work).
      • Laundry (take the clothes out of the laundry basket, wash them, dry them, iron them, put them in the wardrobe).
      • Moving (I'm moving house soon, and I'd rather not spend half a day loading all of my possessions onto a truck and then the rest of th
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DefenderThree (920248)
      You're making the same mistake that every other quasi-Luddite does. The point of consumer robotics, at least to my understanding, isn't to fill a needed role, but to fill it more efficiently. We already had carrier pigeons, why create the Postal Service? Why bother making cars when the horse and carriage combination is cheaper, safer, more fulfilling (horses, at least), and roads are already designed for carriages? Why spend hundreds of dollars on iron differential engines when we have humans who can do the
    • by kthejoker (931838)
      I agree with this completely, but I would really like a robot chauffeur.

      To me, driving is one of the least productive things I do.

    • I want a robotic assistant, it would record everything I say. Convert it to text parse and store it, along with everything everyone else said to me, it would do research for me and provide remote teleconfrencing services.

      It would also cook for me, rub my back and have sex with any officials I need to bribe :P
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Prof.Phreak (584152)
      Oh, I can think of many (or too many) uses. Just watch iRobot (well, you can read the book too) for some ideas.

      How about a robot servant (ie: iRobot style). A robot that does your laundry. You drop clothing where you take it off. The robot picks it up, takes it to the washer, dryer, irons it, folds it, puts it in closet, etc., with no interaction from you. Useful? Yes! Possible with current technology? Likely not. Same goes for making you dinner, buying groceries for said dinner, walking your dog, driving y
    • by krazo (220290) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @07:12PM (#21288537)
      Actually, the problem is that things that do these tasks well wouldn't strike people as being robots.

      Is a dishwasher a robot? Is a programmable coffee pot a robot? Is a remote control or a TIVO a robot? Is a home automation system a robot? How about a motorized scooter? How about a sprinkler system? Centralized heat/air? Motion sensing lights?

      They're all automated systems that solve problems or make performing tasks easier. Many of them integrate sensors that tune them to the environment or operate on a schedule. But if they don't have two legs and arms and walk around making beep bop noises, we think they're not robots.

      And most anything else we come up with that doesn't do a task exactly like a human does (which is probably inefficient or wasteful, hence why we built the automated system in the first place) is not considered a robot.

      Somebody alluded to it in an earlier reply. A robotic chaffeur is a robot but a car that parks/drives itself isn't.
  • If you do the math, it's not possible for every family on this planet to have a refrigerator. Not even close. There is not enough energy and not enough resources. Do you think that Americans are privileged and other people don't deserve one, too? If we had our priorities straight we would figure out how to feed people without refrigeration and do away with one of our biggest energy sinks.

    If there is a household robot, it's going to have to have a much better energy source than Bender's belching fuel ce
    • by Xeriar (456730) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @03:15PM (#21285515) Homepage
      If you do the math, it's not possible for every family on this planet to have a refrigerator. Not even close. There is not enough energy and not enough resources.

      Assuming a ~3-KW fridge (beefy!), 2-person families, that's ~3.333... billion families (I'm being lazy), or 10 terawatts. This, of course, is assuming they're all running all the time.

      Total energy production of human civilization: ~15 terawatts - Energy to spare!

      Total energy Earth receives from the Sun: 174 petawatts

      There needs to be a '-1: Poster is incapable of basic math' mod.
  • ...is the title of a book I have seen reviewed a few times recently and is due out shortly. As the title suggests, the author explores the possibilities of love and physical relationships with robots. There is also a discussion [newscientist.com] over at New Scientist magazine about the book.

    All sorts of issues come to mind. If androids are self-aware, it would be wrong to use them as sex slaves. If we make androids find humans physically attractive, that would be a very artificial thing to program in. How much worse woul
  • Stupid article (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101 ... NBSDom minus bsd> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:51PM (#21285155) Homepage Journal

    Show me some evidence that Americans have an aversion to robots. You can't, because it doesn't exist. What it really proves is that Americans don't have a particular cultural desire for "robot buddies" as the Japanese seem to.

    But the bigger issue is that we don't have any real robot technology that can do anything useful. And we won't have that until we have a real science of Artificial Intelligence, which doesn't exist right now.

    Create a consumer a humanoid robot maid that can do all household chores, and Americans would buy millions of them without a qualm. Of course, the next step would be sex robots disguised as maid robots because of the social stigma of sexbots. When we have *that*, we'll have robots everywhere.

    • by zappepcs (820751)
      I'd like to disagree with you on a minor point. It is not that we have no desire, it is that we have neither the required technology to inspire the desire nor the perceived value in a bang-for-buck kind of way.

      If you could get a lawn care robot that just did it's thing without supervision or assistance, people would snap them up like Roombas. When such exists, they will be hot ticket items. It is the lack of value that is the problem. There are plenty of people that will go out on the bleeding edge for some
      • I'd like to disagree with you on a minor point. It is not that we have no desire, it is that we have neither the required technology to inspire the desire nor the perceived value in a bang-for-buck kind of way.

        I think that's more-or-less what I said, unless I'm misunderstanding your point.

    • Show me some evidence that Americans have an aversion to robots.

      I don't have any proof of that, but a lot of Americans seem to have some aversion to many kinds of technology. Even on this board you might see people complain that they "just want a phone", and I think that's part of why phones available in the US are lower tech than overseas. And despite the fact that the average American watches something like 3-4 hours of TV a day, they won't buy HDTVs, only a third of US homes have an HDTV right now.

      Of
      • by dvdeug (5033)
        HDTVs are still way more expensive than SDTVs, and a TV usually lasts long enough that many Americans last replaced their TV before HDTVs were really on the consumer market. There's no reason to assume that people who won't spend a lot of money to fix what isn't broken (their existing TV or the SDTV standard) are technology-phobic.
    • by Mike1024 (184871)
      Show me some evidence that Americans have an aversion to robots. You can't, because it doesn't exist.

      Well, as Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] notes, western films (such as The Terminator, The Matrix, and I, Robot) quite often involve killer robots. This seems a stark contrast to Japanese media like, Chobits [wikipedia.org], in which a guy falls in love with a robot.
      • Well, as Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] notes, western films (such as The Terminator, The Matrix, and I, Robot) quite often involve killer robots.

        What object in society *hasn't* been turned into a killer? Just because we have the movie Cujo doesn't mean society fears dogs. If something exists, it'll be turned into a plot device. Hell, Stephen King wrote a horror story about a possessed laundry machine ("The Mangler").

        I can think of a bunch of examples of friendly robots: Bicentennial Man movie, Hymie from

    • Roomba was a pretty big success in America. Americans are very practical, they want something that works, they won't go for some humanoid robot that doesn't do anything useful.
  • With robots already established as killing machines [wired.com], why is there any doubt they'd try to take over?
  • Shouldn't they be welcoming our Robotic Overlords?
  • U.S. Consumer? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bigboote66 (166717) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:52PM (#21285171)
    The article goes to great lengths to bash the American consumer, yet where does it speak to an alternative? Vaguely mentioning "the Japanese" hardly counts. If American expectations of robots are absurdly high, Japanese expectations are equally absurdly low. It seems the only stories you ever hear about Japanese robots, other than Asimo, are essentially attempts to make animatronic puppets that resemble people or pets so closely until they finally achieve "uncanny valley" levels of creepiness. Yet these "robots" offer no real functionality. If we want to make generalizations, we may as well say the Japanese are obsessed with creating the appearance of robots, without actually fulfilling any other purpose other than "Kawaii!!!"

    Case in point: He brings up the Aibo. Of course the market rejected it - who has $2000 to spend on a battery-powered dog whose novelty wears off after about 6 hours, unless you're a programmer who wants to use them for competitions or hacking. And cheap knock-offs costing $40 or less quickly showed up and sold well, demonstrating that there was a market for trivial fluff, as long as it was priced right.

    And then there's the Roomba. Sure, it works in certain well-defined environments to remove minor debris; but we're talking about a device that takes over for a task that most of us only spend an hour/week doing, if that, and only for a single floor. This isn't to say that the Roomba is a failure, or that vacuum-cleaning robots are a dead end. It's a decent start, and there's no reason that a fully functional vacuum robot that does as good a job as a person with a full size vac isn't in the near future, but for now, unless you're Stephen Hawking, a Roomba is more about entertainment than cleaning a house.

    And that's what it really boils down to: people will embrace robots when they fulfill some useful purpose that is worth the price you'll pay for them, the hassle factor in dealing with them, and the real estate they take up in your closet when you're not using them. We will get there - the recent Urban Challenge for autonomous cars reported hear earlier is a stepping stone - but stop putting the cart before the horse and demanding some hypothetical consumer buy a lot of novelty garbage just to get an industry a jump start.

    -BbT
  • From TFA:

    Both Japan and America face similar 21st-century challenges, the biggest of which is probably the care of our rapidly aging populations.

    And then goes on to extol the wonders of robots as sources of companionship.

    Well, as one of those "aging population" boomers, I'm not desperate enough to want a robot as a human surrogate, and I'm glad that my kids managed to grow up with human (rather than electronic) companions.

    What TFA seems to be looking forward to is Isaac Asimov's Sirian dystopia, whe

  • Labor (Score:5, Insightful)

    by king-manic (409855) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:57PM (#21285235)
    As long as America has cheap Mexican labor, they won't need robotic labor. One of the main reasons for Japans enthusiasm for robotic helps has to do with their demographics shift and their general xenophobia/aversion to immigration from poorer Asian countries.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah (1196)
      Just take a trip to Cancun and pay attention. Many little tasks that
      would be automated here aren't there. I guess the labor is too cheap.
      Simple things like lawn watering will be done with a guy with a hose.

      Machines only work when they are cheaper than the workers they replace.
  • The article touches on but, in my opinion, doesn't do justice to a well documentet trait of human nature: That how appealing we find a representation (robot, image, etc) lives on a bell curve. Something that has some resembelance to, say, a dog; we will connect with. When it moves from "dog-ish" to looking like a plastic-dog-zombie, it grosses us out. As long as we are seeing the robot and finding similarities with the dog, it's appealing for the resembelances. When the reality gets close enough that we ar
  • by NerveGas (168686) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:59PM (#21285273)

      Most of them can't figure out how to hide the expense of a Real Doll from their spouses anyway, so a *robotic* version, being even more expensive, would be out of the question!
  • I fail to see the benefit for me of interacting with a robotic receptionist (over say, a human one).

    Why should I want my robot vacuum to look like a tiny slave in my employ?

    Why should I want children to have really sophisticated robot toys?

    Why should I want any of that?

    The article seems to imply that the lack of consumer interest in humanoid robotics is somehow socially retarded. I think consumers like it when machines can help them, it's largely irrelevant what they look like or how they behave if they do
  • IHBT (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @03:08PM (#21285401) Journal
    Deserve?

    I have robots. My car has robotics (cruise control, temperature control), my VCR has robotics, my former boss has a robot vaccuum cleaner and a robot lawnmower. Hell, I built a robot from my erector set when I was in 6th grade (yes, I'm a nerd and no apologies for it).

    The fact that South Korea has an "ethical treatment of robots" mentality and the Japanese build robots to look like us and be our pals shows me that they, not we, are the ones who "don't deserve robots."

    AFAIC those who see robots for what they are - unfeeling, unthinking tools - are the ones who deserve robots. Those who anthropomorphise [wikipedia.org] these creations of human diligence are the ones who don't deserve them.

    -mcgrew

    No animals were harmed in the creation of this comment. Except for lunch, of course.
  • The article author has a very good point. People tend to become paranoid of robots. Robots are slaves (in fact, that's what the name "robot" means), they don't achieve AI by "accident", much less the sudden burst of consciousness in the movies I-Robot or Terminator. Being attacked by a Rumba Vacuum cleaner? Now that'd be a youtube clip I'd like to watch.

    But then I thought of it a little more, and I came out with some japanese sci-fi robot rebellions: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and Ergo Proxy.

    I
  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @03:09PM (#21285417) Journal
    Like most Americans, I'm concerned about robots. That's why I have Old Glory Insurance [youtube.com] coverage.
  • FTA: There's an obvious comfort level with the now five-year-old iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner. It doesn't look like us or any of our pets. We understand that there is some intelligence in there, but we are not threatened by it. If iRobot had made a 4-foot-tall Roomba with a face and a hand to hold a vacuum hose, the company wouldn't have sold more than ten units. [...] For the past few years, I thought that a successful Pleo launch or more companies competing with the AIBO or even the Roomba would spell suc
  • Scariest story I ever read. That's all I'm sayin'.
  • http://xkcd.com/251/ [xkcd.com] ... sure I can overpower it *now*

  • americans love robots -- they couldn't live without internet and industrial manufacture for one day. the robots are thirsty, and have already sent us on their way.

    for all those other things, humans are already good at doing that. we've already obliterated privacy, come up with the concepts necessary for mechanized mass destruction, and created this capability, where it ddn't exist before.

    we already feed our brains to the televisions and internets -- our mind is only filled with things fed us by the web. wha
  • ... of human civilization will be millions of Roombas cleaning up the mess.
  • Cos unless they do something soon to fix their economy the average US consumer 10 years hence is going to be assembling the robots not buying them
  • It's racist. We prefer the terms "artificial person" or "android".
  • I had a robot at 10. My daughter had a robotic Dog, My boys each had a RoboSapien, and several robotic bugs. We all deserved them, actually we deserved much better. My robot 25 years ago was better than all the ones I've bought my children. Anyone remember that RadioShack Robot? Robie

    Mine was voice controlled and played audio tapes, programmable from my atari 800XL. In contrast, Tekno was horrible, Robosapiens were a giant step backwards. One of my sons even put together a bobot in his tech class in Jr

  • by Debello (1030486) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @04:36PM (#21286629)
    What IS relevant is whether there's a demand for it, and Americans are willing to pay for it. It's simple economics. Do Humans "deserve" cars? Do we "deserve" a refrigerator? I dunno, but it doesn't matter. We buys cars and fridges anyway.
  • by jay-be-em (664602) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @04:54PM (#21286935) Homepage
    I don't really understand the focus on having anthropomorphic robots. Humans are relatively
    bulky and require quite a bit of energy for locomotion and so far move fairly slow. The one
    benefit of bipedal locomotion is the ability to walk over multileveled and rough terrain, but
    I'm guessing the majority of robot uses will be in offices, homes, etc. Why not have more designs
    like this? http://www.msl.ri.cmu.edu/projects/ballbot/ [cmu.edu]

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

Working...