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A robot with a wink and a smile

robot2.JPG

By Hamish Johnston at the APS March Meeting in Dallas

One of the people in the photo (right) is a robot called Philip K Dick, and the other is David Hanson of Hanson Robotics, which is located just outside of Dallas.

David was talking at the March Meeting about the challenges of making robots that are more lifelike. And not just superficial looks – he’s put a great deal of effort into getting facial expressions right and generally making the robot respond as if it is human.

The problem today is that lifelike robots tend to be creepy (I believe that is a technical term in the industry). This is because getting just a few minor things wrong about how the machine behaves puts it in an uncomfortable place between living and dead – at least, that’s my opinion.

So when will you meet the first robot that is so lifelike that you think it’s human? Hanson thinks it will happen in less than an decade.

I don’t know about you, but that’s creepy!

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