The Man Who Mistook His Girlfriend For A Robot

from the making-a-realistic-robotic-head dept

In all the recent stories about “human-like” robots, the thing that makes them “human-like” is the fact that they stand up on two legs and have two arms. However, they all have pretty simple faces. One grad students is trying to change that. He’s building a lifelike human face for robots (based on his girlfriend’s face) that makes real facial expressions. We wrote about this guy back in February, but this article has many more details. Building such a face, however, seems to violate a taboo in the robot building world – where for years, there’s been a theory that people relate to robots as they become more human up to a point. After that point, the similarities are a little too scary, and people react with revulsion instead. Some fear that David Hanson’s robotic version of his girlfriend’s head has crossed that line. Hanson, however, feels that this is ridiculous pseudoscience, and he points out there are plenty of positive benefits to having truly human looking robotic faces.

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Comments on “The Man Who Mistook His Girlfriend For A Robot”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Help for burn victims

Nah, that sounds like you’re preaching for the idea of growing cells in vats – which I wholeheartedly support, of course.

I’m thinking that robotic masks would still be a pale shadow of Real Tissue for a long time, longer than it would take to eventually force nerves to regrow (currently a slow, frustrating and occasionally excrutiatingly painful procedure, from my experience) more quickly to where it’s possibly to grow even the complex nerves of the face.

Tissue that can be grown from our own tissue (sorry, that sounds too much like cloning, that tool of The Devil) that can be spliced into real tissue and that can regrow nerves so it’s as alive and integrated with the nerves and muscles of the face/leg/heart/arm, that’s imho a lovely goal that’s only just beyond our reach.

Replacing limbs and organs with functionally equivalent vat-grown tissue. That’s just yummy, even if it means I’m Goin’ Straight Ta Hail.

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