Monday, April 30, 2007

Marta Borzuchowski Checks in with a Robot Sighting!

From: "Marta Borzuchowski"
Subject: Hey Bill!
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 12:57:08 -0700

I was watching the news this morning and I found something that follows our class. PaPeRo is a robot that literally has its own mind. It knows its own master, observes and thinks information, and so on. It's truly crazy what the 21st Century has in store for the future. But here is a website about PaPeRo if you're curious.



  1. Edward Gurrola5:26 PM

    This is mind boggling to even think about! In our culture, we have always thought of robots as mechanical inventions with no emotions or feelings. Of course, all of these emotions and feelings will be programmed by other humans, but it will still be very interesting to see if people "feel bad" about treating this robot harshly.
    This is really a great representation of what we have been studying all semester. Why do we feel a connection with these inanimate objects and characters, when they really do not exist? Personally, I feel that it's in our nature as humans to care for anything that we can identify with, or that we have been close with. For instance, my computer crashed recently, and I really felt terrible that I had to dispose of it, after all of the years I had spent using it. This is a completely irrational feeling, and it's something that cannot be justified, but it happens nonetheless. If families buy this robot, eventually it will feel like part of the family, and even though it seems creepy, it might be nice for some folks who are lonely.

  2. After a long investigation into the product online, I realized that as we come up with these robotic counterparts, ersatz sidekicks, the line between living and non-living thins. If one day we find a way for these robots to reproduce on their own, what does that mean for us? PaPeRo can walk, talk, recognize faces, and remain attentive with eye-contact while you are talking. Its character even changes depending on how it is approached. PaPeRo is more advanced than any first grader I know. I am truly amazed by this product. Combine PaPeRo with Real Doll, as mentioned in previous blogs, and the result would be unspeakable. PaPeRo is a mannequin of life, personality, and even who our children’s new best friend may be in the years to come. It is difficult to understand why so much effort is being placed into developing products like PaPeRo, when we are still struggling to develop a cure for cancer. At the same time, it is even harder to understand what drives the consumer to purchase one. So I do admit, I am a huge fan of the digital pet on a key chain, and I guess PaPeRo would be the ULTIMATE digital pet. Why would someone want one; why do I (not so) secretly want one!?

  3. kelsey12:15 AM

    I saw on a video called "robots with personality," where robots are being programmed to have human feelings with a human genetic make-up. These South Korean techies are taking the human mannequin to a whole new level with robots that can think and feel on their own with 77 different behavior patterns. The video uses phrases like “artificial species” with “artificial chromosomes,” I couldn’t help but be a little freaked out. I’m all about new technology and the advancement of the human potential, but do robots really need their own chromosomes? The techies say it’s so we can interact more with the robots… which is creepy, I can’t wait for a world where the term “inter-being marriage” means human/ robot unions. Instead of being called “jungle fever” it will be called “techno fever.” I know this is all a little far fetched but maybe I’m a little jaded from growing up with movies like short circuit, and the scene where Johnny No. 5 goes crazy on all the humans and his eyes turn into red slits. If that is what will happen by sharing our chromosomes with robots, I don’t think they need personalities. Let’s just stick to the shaper image robot that vacuums your house on its own.

  4. Anonymous12:21 AM

    After reading about PaPeRo, I don’t find it hard to believe that people would go for this. It’s instant companionship without the worries of reciprocating favors. “The PaPeRo has been researched and developed with the intention of its being a partner with human beings and its being able to live together with them.” I guess you could call it a roommate too. Although the intentions and ideas for this robot are in the right place, I just don’t think you can find an adequate substitute for physical human contact from a robot. A major part of the excitement that comes from interacting with others is the spontaneity of emotions and ideas that get thrown your way. With a robot, who can only be as emotional as its software will allow, you will never be able to recreate that human spontaneity if you are the one who has to re/program it. You'll always know what's coming. Don’t get me wrong, I would get a PaPeRo just for the simple fact that it’s capable of mimicking “ramen noodles,” and who doesn’t want to see a piece of machinery mimicking any type of food...I know I do...but I don’t think I would get it to satiate my need for comraderie...I would probably end up getting a dog...and find some way to teach it to mimic ramen noodles or maybe a banana. :)
    -Allie del Mundo.

  5. A. Dominguez:

    However creepy it is to think of these cute, benign, cybernetic friends as replacements for our flesh-and-blood (and furry, usually) pals, I think we nevertheless have to give kudos to robot programmers for their ingenuity. This is not just another parroting Furby. This thing has a personality that adapts based on previous encounters with people (and we’re not just talking reformulating complex war strategy like War Games’ “Joshua” computer or fantasy baseball predicting programs). They are creating for these little ‘bots the ability to “strategize” an “opinion,” and then they set these little gremlins loose in homes. This particular one can both adapt and learn (via adaptation to environment/experience, and through the internet downloads…which it does autonomously and at its own freewill).

    Sometimes I’ve wondered what my cat, Sam, thinks of me and the other people who move through his domain. Will we soon be wondering what our robotic pet—and possibly our future robotic hired-help (ala Rosie of Jetsons, Sonny in IRobot) or *gasp* cybernetic children/siblings/lovers (ala Artificial Intelligence: AI )—might be thinking of us? If they form opinions, or preferences (the robot in the comic on the company’s website seems to prefer the girl, with whom it is dancing, over the boy who seemed to have previously bonked it on the head with a baseball), can robots eventually form prejudices?

    Will AI eventually form its own ethnic mannequins?

    And someone (CJ) secretly (not so secretly) wants one? So do I. I’m fascinated by the idea that this thing—this construct that is created from the ground up not by God or biological processes, but by humans playing creator with lines of programming text (text becoming body!) and mechanical bits—is capable of interacting with me on a level that might someday be on par with my very human best friend. When we consider that this pet-robot is just a creation, that someone had to program every line of code into it so that it could “read” and “interpret” its environment and think, what does that say about the value we place on our own mental capacity? Isn’t that the time-honored idea of what makes human unique? I’m reminded of an old Disney cartoon song: “You are a human animal / you are a very special breed / For you are the only animal who can think, who can reason, who can read!”

    But if we grant (by design) that ability to robots, who we then inevitably teach to produce in mass quantity more such robots...If you can’t see where this is going, rent the Animatrix and watch “The Second Renaissance,” Pt 1 and 2.

    God, this all sounds so cynical. -_-