Sunday, May 24, 2009

Soldiers Love Their Robots and Why 'Terminator' Is So Creepy

Jeremy Hsu has written a number of articles of interest to readers of this blog. On May 20th LiveScience posted an article by Hsu on, "Why 'Terminator' Is So Creepy," which focuses largely on discussing some of the psychological underpinnings of the 'uncanny valley' effect. The research projects of Karl MacDormand and Thalia Wheatley are highlighted.

The story of Scooby-Doo, a Packbot with whom members of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team team bonded is becoming well known and was discussed in Moral Machines. However, as Hsu relates, in an article on Yahoo News titled, "Real Soldiers Love Their Robot Brethren,"Scooby Doo was not an isolated instance of soldiers forming emotional bonds with the robotic drones and bomb sweepers.

"One of the psychologically interesting things is that these systems aren't designed to promote intimacy, and yet we're seeing these bonds being built with them," said Peter Singer, a leading defense analyst at the Brookings Institution and author of "Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century"

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