July 12, 2013

Longing for a humanoid robot.

The NYT has this article titled "Modest Debut of Atlas May Foreshadow Age of 'Robo Sapiens.'" Key word: modest.
Although robotic planes already fill the air and self-driving cars are being tested on public roads, many specialists in robotics believe that the learning curve toward useful humanoid robots will be steep. Still, many see them fulfilling the needs of humans — and the dreams of science fiction lovers — sooner rather than later.

Walking on two legs, they have the potential to serve as department store guides, assist the elderly with daily tasks or carry out nuclear power plant rescue operations.
Mawkish sentimentality makes us want machines to look like people. Note the phrase "fulfilling the needs of humans." It hints of our emotional needs for love, friendship, and companionship in addition to all the difficult/dangerous/dull jobs we'd like robots to do for us.

The dreams of science fiction lovers... there's another phrase. Lovers. Dreams. And yet: science!

Oh, you sci-fi boys, you think you are about technology and manly dreams of complicated machinery. But you want love. Dreamy, creamy love.

The robot must be humanoid.

But you'll be aching for love a long time. The Pentagon's humanoid robot is modest.