Monday, July 5, 2010

BINA48 Makes Her Debut

A robot head, commission by Martine Rothblatt, that emulates her spouse Bina Rothblatt, was featured in a NYTIMES article by Amy Harmon titled, Making Friends With a Robot Named Nina48. A video of Harmon interacting with Bina48 accompanies the article. The robot Bina lacks the charm of her living counterpart, but nevertheless, demonstrates a few beguiling trick that play upon the human tendency to anthropomorphize artifacts.

Harmon also has a companion piece in the NYTIMES titled, A Soft Spot for Circuitry, that discusses the proliferation of companion robots in nursing homes, schools, and even living rooms.
When something responds to us, we are built for our emotions to trigger, even when we are 110 percent certain that it is not human,” said Clifford Nass, a professor of computer science at Stanford University. “Which brings up the ethical question: Should you meet the needs of people with something that basically suckers them?”

An answer may lie in whether one signs on to be manipulated.”

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