[Disclaimer: I LOVE ROBOTS! If asked me who was my role model while I was in Jr. High School, I would have said, Optimus Prime. He had just a little more influence on me than my Dad did for a while. My Armatron Robotic Arm still resides in my mother’s attic. So now that I have declared my loyalties, let us start with the beginning of the end.]
In this recent article from #CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/22/tech/pepper-robot-sold-out) they talk about the creation and commercial distribution of what I would consider the kindergarten version of an iRobot.
(I’m sorry… did you just ask “What is an ‘iRobot’?” Did you not see the William Smith’s action thriller, where seemingly innocent helper bots fell under the control of an disillusioned mastermind central AI that sought to protect human by subduing people? No? You didn’t. Well… let’s just say… it ended kinda how you expect these kinds of things to end, but I digress.)
I don’t quite understand the need for this little emotional bot. The article states that the shiny all-white robot named “Pepper” can read your emotions and develop it’s own emotion. FIRST OF ALL… There is just no way that I can deal with a robot that just expressing random emotions. Second, I don’t want a robot trying to psychoanalyze me. Just ask me how I’m feeling and I will tell you. No need for the mind games, Pepper! We can just talk it out. I would want a robot like Johnny 5. He can go out during the day. He likes TV. He can tell pretty good jokes. He likes to explore new places. He doesn’t need a permit to carry a laser or a grappling hook.
What concerns me is the unknown reason that all the people were so quick to clear the shelves of these bots. What’s really going on here?
Are people just purchasing some cool new tech?
Are people buying personal companionship?
Are people supplementing human interaction with robotic allgorhythms output?
Has the art of person-to-person, mano-a-mano, ‘We Time’; been lost to the texting, Candy Crush, and The Almighty DVR?
HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING FROM THE BUDDY SYSTEM, PEOPLE???
If I hold your hand… and you hold my hand… we can cross the street together.
(I so feel the need for a group hug right now! Everyone hug their electronic device right now. Wait… was that an eHug?)
Why do we need this plastic Sigmund Freud? This is how it starts.
The machines first read our emotions…
… then they manipulate our emotions…
… then they make us dependent upon them…
… then they manipulate us into not trusting other humans…
… The Matrix…
My point is: Humans are emotional beings. Movies like Wall-E, Short Circuit, Bicentennial Man, and The Iron Giant have paved the way for us to get our emotions ALLLLLLL twisted up with robots. Oh gawd…[SPOILER ALERT] when they killed Optimus Prime, in the 1986 cult classic / *blockbuster film, “The Transformers: The Movie.” I had press pause on the VCR. It was overwhelming.
We are being conditioned to emotionally connect with robots. So when the time comes, it will be easy for us to trust them. To rely on them. To confide in them. To depend on them. EVEN my DROID Turbo talks back to me now.
Our emotions are the key to the demise of the human race.
Keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and your robots plugged up in the garage.
* Footnote: When I said that The Transformers was a blockbuster, I meant that I was taking the tape out of the VCR and I dropped it on my Lego space port and it busting my blocks. Just to be clear on that. Carry on!