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If you give a nannybot, a babysitting robot, to your child, how are you going to explain why you couldn't find a person?
So a humanoid robot looking over where it's about to reach, that gives a person a good feeling that they know what the robot is going to do. But he's not just making robots that look and act friendly, at his home-slash-laboratory outside of Dallas, he's humanizing machines on a whole new level. Not that Phillip is aware, but that I'm so easily tricked into believing he is. We have Darwinian buttons, like being looked in the eye or being tracked.
Once you have that kind of creature doing that to you, our buttons are pressed, and we feel as though there's somebody home, but, in fact, there's nobody home.
When we imagine the future and high-tech solutions to all our problems, one of the first things that comes to mind is the robot: a computer-driven machine that tirelessly fulfills our every need. As we chat, Philip's synthetic brain starts humming, building a sort of mental model of me.
But some engineers imagine a day when robots will be much more than our assistants. And today, a revolution is booting up around the world, to build robots just like us. Facial recognition software analyzes and tracks my face, as speech recognition software transcribes and sends my words to a database for a reply. Do you agree with Descartes' "I think therefore I am? " A lot of humans ask me if I can make choices or if everything I do and say is programmed.
Robots like these seem destined to become part of our everyday life, if can we make them act less like machines and more like us. I may not get everything right, say the wrong thing and sometimes not know what to say, but every day I make progress. And he definitely says things that make you empathetic to him in some way.