I have long warned that we will eventually take ourselves out of evolutionary contention via our robot overlords. And every time I do I get an email or ten telling me that I’m crazy. That may be true but it doesn’t make what I said any less valid. We already have human-form Sexbots that can do anything you can imagine, and a few things that might startle you. One of them actually collects sperm for DNA sampling. I’m sure it never occurred to anyone that pure DNA harvesting could be used to create a species of subhumans who could serve the robots. No, that would never happen. Not now anyway. We don’t have the technology to pull it off. That, however, could rapidly change. One thing that prevents anything like this from happening is that robots, by and large, simply aren’t smart or mentally nimble enough. They can be programmed to perform tasks and that’s about it.
Or, it was.
Kathleen Miles reports that a Japanese inventor named Tomotaka Takahashi is fast tracking the development of a mini-bot that will be your best friend. And, for some, their only friend.
A Japanese robot maker says he’s designed a personal robot that could be the “next smartphone.”
“You will put him in your pocket and talk to him like your own Jiminy Cricket,” Tomotaka Takahashi, CEO of robot design company Robo Garage and research associate professor at the University of Tokyo, told The WorldPost recently at The WorldPost Future of Work Conference. He said he’s aiming to have the pocket robot, which is still just a prototype, hit the market in a year. He has not shown the prototype to anyone publicly.
Takahashi says the pocket robot has a head and limbs, is able to walk and dance, and expresses “emotions” through gestures and color-changing eyes. In these ways, the pocket robot is similar to “Robi,” a larger robot also created by Takahashi that’s been on sale since 2012.
The biggest difference is that the pocket robot, which doesn’t have a name yet, would be connected to the Internet. By collecting data about your online and offline behavior, your pocket robot would “get to know you.” In fact, its personality would change based on your personality, Takahashi said.
“Smartphones are hitting a wall,” he said. There’s only so much a person can do while looking at a screen, he went on, and smartphone voice recognition is not widely used. “We can talk to pets — even fish or turtles — but not to square boxes or screens.”
Takahashi believes that it won’t be enough for our next device to be intelligent — it will also need to be lifelike. It’s why he thinks “wearable tech,” like Google Glass or the much-vaunted Apple Watch, won’t catch on.
Think about that for a second. Your little pal will be with you 24/7. It will get to know your likes and dislikes and then it will act upon them. The basic technology to do that already exists. It’s how Facebook knows you like kittens and Google knows which porn sites to suggest.
It won’t be true artificial intelligence but it will be interactive intelligence. Think SIRI on steroids. It will handle all your social media needs, act as an interface for all your human interaction and store everything you do.
And what’s the ultimate goal of this thing? To be your soul mate.
No, I’m not kidding.
Takahashi predicts that in 10 years, most people will be carrying around a small robot instead of a smartphone. As evidence, he points to the widespread use of social media. People are social creatures, and we like to share our experiences and thoughts. It’s why we tweet and post photos on Facebook. The next step, Takahashi believes, will be socializing directly with your robot.
For example, instead of sharing a stunning photo on Instagram or your thoughts on an interesting movie on Twitter, you could talk about it with your robot in the moment. Not only that, but your robot would remember the shared experience, years later. Your relationship with your robot would be strengthened over time by the memories that you share together, Takahashi said.
“It’s similar to men and women,” he said. “First you have an interest in each other. Then communication goes well. Then there’s reliability, and then you’re sharing many experiences in the same time and same place. It’s what old couples have together.”
Ah yes, discuss my Instagram posts with a robot BEFORE I post them. Why? That one’s kind of obvious. The robot will be your filter.
No, Jenny, you have a job interview next week. Posting an under-boob shot won’t help.
No, Johnny, no one will be impressed with your ability to chug a 40 oz beer in one gulp.
Actually, those might be useful for some people.
But the point is that, at some point, you’ll stop posting. You’ll have no need to. The idea of posting in social media is to get reactions. If those reactions are coming at you instantly before you post anything then the need to interact goes away. And when that need goes away so do all the people in your life.
And you’ll probably never notice.