Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Robots as companions

Irving and Edna discuss keeping pets. E-pets.


Irving: Would you rather have a human-type robot as a companion, or a robot-type robot?

Edna: Machines are machines. A robot.

Irving: Most people answer they'd like a robot that looks like a human as a companion. Like C3PO.

Edna: So I’m abnormal?

Irving: I didn’t say that. But you'd prefer R2D2?

Edna: In a tight spot, yes. R2D2 was stable. He ran on wheels. He was dependable. He could clean up. If he squeaked, a bit of oil did the trick. Unlike C3PO, he didn’t talk in a quavering voice and wobble when he walked.




Aibo was a popular robot dog. Ran about and arfed. Edna evidently prefers something more practical. Something that will vacuum the carpet. And as a modern female human, she still really doesn’t need an out-of-work robot who majored in philosophy and then trained as a butler to dress her. That she can still do herself.

Nevertheless, her response is not in line with that of most people who look for human characteristics in a robot. Two eyes. Two arms. A voice. Legs or wheels, below the belt doesn't seem to matter. WALL-E?


No comments: