People Creeped Out By Competent AI; Drawn To Needy AI

from the too-sketchy dept

There’s a theory in the robotics world that if a robot is too lifelike it really creeps people out. They like life-like robots up to a point — as long as they can tell they’re still robots. Perhaps an extension of this concept is brought up by Clive Thompson in his latest piece for Wired News, where he talks about the addictive qualities of Nintendogs, the latest in a long line of Tamaguchi-like games that require you to take care of a virtual “pet.” While others have chalked up the success of the game to the “cuteness” of the dogs, Thompson takes a different view. He thinks that people are simply drawn to artificial intelligence that’s somehow “needy.” While the predictions always said we’d have super smart, perfect-acting AI machines that would be our robotic servants, Thompson believes that (like the too perfect human representations), such AI creeps us out. However, as soon as it becomes “needy,” we’re drawn to the cute little puppies that need our care and feeding.

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Comments on “People Creeped Out By Competent AI; Drawn To Needy AI”

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dorpus says:

Recreational Abuse

When will we have lifelike pets or children that people can abuse for entertainment? If people take their plastic robots out into public with burnt cigarette marks and dents, is that a crime?

When I broke up with an ex-gf once, I decapitated a teddy bear she gave me to me and gave it back to her in a shopping bag. For some strange reason, she got upset.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

My wife has both the Japanese and English version of “Nintendogs.” After watching her play them extensively, I can say that she’s not at all drawn to their “needy AI.” She is definitely attracted to the cuteness factor.

Logically speaking, though, what the fuck is this guy talking about? If I need a software job done, I want the most competent AI I can find. On the other hand, if I want to play a game, a competent AI is just going to kick my ass and/or make me superfluous to the system. This just seems like apples and oranges time.

Anonymous of Course says:

Cute and Competent

I find the sentry bot in DOOM3 strangely attractive. It kicks the hell out of the bad guys but it’s cute like an attentive little dog. I think this is an interesting area for development. Designing AI that doesn’t leave the human feeling threatened. Maybe AI that leads the human to the correct solution though a process of consensus building would be useful. Making programs more pleasant and helpful to use rather than threatening, insulting or obtuse.
Come to think of it… I sure to miss programming in muddle.

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