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How Do People Respond To Being Touched By a Robot?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the show-the-court-where-the-robot-touched-you dept.

Robotics 137

An anonymous reader writes "You know it's coming, and for the forever-alone crowd, not soon enough: robots that physically interact with humans. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found in a study that people generally had a positive response toward being touched by a benevolent robotic nurse, but that their perception of the robot's intent made a significant difference. 'Even though the robot touched people in the same way,' said a team lead, 'if people thought the robot was doing that to clean them, versus doing that to comfort them, it made a significant difference in ... whether they found that contact favorable or not.'"

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137 comments

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Human touch is seen as empathetic (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35443978)

There is something about a genuine human touch that is seen as empathetic, as an act of kindness. Even if we know it's disingenuous, or that it's part of a person's job, there is still something in the back of our minds that responds to it as a genuine human connection.

Robots, on the other hand, can NEVER be empathetic or kind--and we know this without a doubt. There touch isn't a connection and never can be. That introduces a creep factor that no amount of programming or human emulation can ever fix. Because we know they have no base morality or emotion and are incapable of empathy, robots will always inherently creep people out at best, or scare the shit out of them at worst.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (2)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444022)

Time to stock up on some old glory robot insurance [google.com]

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

DeniseResoux (2012610) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444028)

Very funny!!

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

JohannesJ (952576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444200)

Getting touched by a Robot is Smashing.! I prefer to use a 20 pound Sledge hammer to smash it!

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444032)

That introduces a creep factor that no amount of programming or human emulation can ever fix.

Creepier than being inappropriately touched by your priest, pastor or doctor? Presumably robots have not yet evolved sexual desires and fantasies.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444076)

Obviously you haven't ever seen my priest.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444222)

Creepier than being inappropriately touched by your priest, pastor or doctor? Presumably robots have not yet evolved sexual desires and fantasies.

Dear Janet,

I had an adequate time with you last night. I feel a million-dollar HomeSec contract coming on, and I know you do too, Janet. If I still don't get that TSA robogroper contract, you can bite my shiny metal ass.

Yours truly,
Bender!

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (5, Funny)

Wolvenhaven (1521217) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444074)

DON'T DATE ROBOTS!

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444210)

Quite right! Marry [wikipedia.org] them and program them to do whatever you want

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444648)

Not even Cameron (Summer Glau), 7 of 9, etc.? :P

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444918)

Not even Cameron (Summer Glau), 7 of 9, etc.? :P

Those are both cyborgs.

Provided they don't try to kill you, you're allowed to date them.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445262)

If you date Summer Glau, don't ever let her watch the commercials ...

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (5, Insightful)

mano.m (1587187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444146)

I disagree. Empathy and kindness can be programmed, and if sufficiently advanced, may be indistinguishable from human empathy or kindness. What makes my genetic programming or yours more legitimate than that of a future robot? Then again, we may not even need to get there. Humans have a tremendous ability to empathise unilaterally. Spock and R. Daneel Olivaw are two of the most beloved characters in sci-fi. We emotionally connect to pet rocks and the abandoned lamp in the IKEA commercial; we feel for characters in novels and are moved by music. Why not a robot?

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444198)

Empathy and kindness can be programmed

It can be *imitated*. Humans fake it too, but with them there is always at least the possibility that it's genuine. With robots, you always know it's fake. No matter how good the emulation, that's just always going to be in the back of your mind in dealing with a robot (unless you don't actually know it's a robot).

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444244)

If the robot is hawt, warm, soft, gentle and well endowed I don't think I'd give a damn.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444306)

Well, I didn't say they don't have their uses of course...

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444328)

And neither do the thousands of customers to this site [realdoll.com] (Possibly NSFW. Didn't actually go there)

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445138)

This guy [comewatchme.com] certainly has no problem relating to his RealDoll.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444334)

Most of the people in those crowds are either with very low social contact or too young to differentiate between real and faked empathy. By young, I mean anyone under forty, it takes a lot of time and interaction with others to to read people just by seeing them behave.
Imagine someone with twice that age and experience, seeing through the shallow kindness and empathy. It will give them the creeps. That's the reason old people like being around youngsters, because, as they say, they "wear their feelings on their sleeves".

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444372)

With robots, you always know it's fake. No matter how good the emulation, that's just always going to be in the back of your mind in dealing with a robot (unless you don't actually know it's a robot).

Tell that to the people convinced their PC hates them [google.be] ( 93.300.000 results) Humans anthropomorphize *everything*.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (2)

JackOfAllGeeks (1034454) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444666)

Humans anthropomorphize *everything*.

This.

My brother attributes a personality and identity to his iPod, I'm sure people will be able to empathize with a robot. The fact that the robot doesn't empathize back is irrelevant -- even in human-to-human interactions, my perception of your intent is far more important than your actual intent, which is recognized in the original comment:

Even if we know it's disingenuous, or that it's part of a person's job, there is still something in the back of our minds that responds to it as a genuine human connection.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (2)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444894)

Have you seen the videos of http://www.tweenbots.com/ [tweenbots.com] it's a cute little robot and some people go out of their way to help it.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

JackOfAllGeeks (1034454) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445372)

Yeah, I thought those were pretty interesting.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444686)

Heh, silly people... My computer LOVES me.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444946)

heh - yeah

robot - I'm REALLY, really tragically sorry I need to do this to you *bzzt*
> inserts anal probe with buzzsaw attachment
human - screams
robot - that really appears to hurt. I hope you don't mind me turning this on... *bzzt*
human - screams some more
robot - I'm tragically sorry your insides were turned to mush like that and you will die very soon. Do you want an aspirin? *bzzt*
human is in shock already, so just stares blankly
robot to robot overlord - patient seem to have taken that rather well. I do feel oh so tragically sorry. So on to the next? *bzzt*

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445528)

I don't anthropomorphize my PC! Ask him yourself if you don't believe me!

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444430)

Although this is pointless but:
"Brain replacement scenario
        In this, we are asked to imagine that engineers have invented a tiny computer that simulates the action of an individual neuron. What would happen if we replaced one neuron at a time? Replacing one would clearly do nothing to change conscious awareness. Replacing all of them would create a digital computer that simulates a brain. If Searle is right, then conscious awareness must disappear during the procedure (either gradually or all at once). Searle's critics argue that there would be no point during the procedure when he can claim that conscious awareness ends and mindless simulation begins."

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

simon0411 (1921684) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444596)

For a robot AI to be "fake," it must have an ulterior motive for its actions. That seems like higher order intelligence to me.

As wondrous as human emotion is, do we really need to mystify it, as if it were something without connection to the physical world, unattainable by anything without a "god-given soul?" We already know we can "reprogram" personalities by removing certain parts of the brain. Are our DNA not purpose-driven programs?

I recall a Japanese comic I read a while ago called Chobits, about people falling in love with androids, in which one of the characters made the Turing-esque observation that the machines can love because of the love people invest in them. I suppose intelligent robots will always be fake to you, but probably not to others.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (2)

PaladinAlpha (645879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445006)

What's the difference between fake and genuine empathy? What is genuine empathy?

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445132)

You seemed to have skipped over the GP's hint about actual AI. Your comment reminds me of the stupidity written into Battlestar Galactica, of humans tirelessly asserting the idea that machine intelligence is somehow different from human intelligence. In reality, that belief would be seen as primitive.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445338)

What does "genuine" even mean? Couldn't a machine be programmed to reach out affectionately when it's neurons are bathed in oxytocin, like we do? Couldn't they be programmed to release oxytocin upon sensing certain stimuli?

I think maybe the only inherent difference between biological organisms and robots is sexual reproduction.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (2)

bityz (2011656) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445382)

The key point in TFA is that the patients projected intent onto the robot. They projected intent onto the robots just as they projected intent onto the nurses, and reacted in the same way regardless of whether it was robot or nurse. The lesson seems to be that you should spend less time programing empathy into a robot, and more time into placing the robot in a context in which intent is implied. By doing so you can trick people into reacting with a robot in a more human way than they might expect.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444162)

Robots, on the other hand, can NEVER be empathetic or kind--and we know this without a doubt. There touch isn't a connection and never can be.

How could you possibly know this ? We don't know what kind of advances in AI the future might hold. And besides it's irrelevant, what matters is the human perception of the intent not the intent itself. If we can anthropomorphize animal behavior the way we do we should have no problem kidding ourselves that even a primitive robot is somehow empathetic.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444276)

Animals are a lot more like us than robots. Animals do have genuine emotions (anyone who thinks they don't can't have been around them very much), so it's a lot easier for us to empathize with them.

As for the distant future--well, anything is possible, of course. Personally I'm very skeptical of predictions of singularity and AI's that are genuinely conscious. Building an AI that is anything more than an imitation of life would take some pretty radical innovations in the way we think about programming (not to mention some pretty powerful/exotic hardware to back that up).

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444484)

We can't even agree on a definition of consciousness let alone separate "true" and "simulated" consciousness from each other. I think it's telling that the Turing test doesn't measure the AI directly but rather the human's response to the AI. Anything so close to consciousness that we can't tell the difference for all intents and purposes IS consciousness.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

simon0411 (1921684) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444842)

>Building an AI that is anything more than an imitation of life

I've always thought of life as the desire and ability to self-propogate, while intelligence as the level of complexity with which something can interact and modify the environment around it. So intelligence isn't binary; how self-aware is a fruit fly? If a robot can independently affect its world to a specific purpose with sufficient complexity, without additional intervention, isn't that some level of intelligence, regardless of how it received its original directives?

With all of the constant advances in technology and research in biology, I'm starting to feel more and more that terms like awareness and intelligence will one day become arbitrary.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444226)

On the other hand, I'd feel much more comfortable being cared for by a robot than being cared for by a nurse who, at worst, might behave in a sexually inappropriate manner, write the wrong dosages on my carts so he/she can steal my medicine, etc, and at best some things are going to be just plain awkward.

So I think that for some people who are going to be mildly uncomfortable with human touch, this robot sounds fantastic.

Besides, most humans LOVE to anthropomorphize things. If they think a robot is comforting them, they'll probably mentally assign some degree of empathy to it.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444262)

...being cared for by a nurse who...might behave in a sexually inappropriate manner...

You'd prefer robots over naughty nurses? What's wrong with you?

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444438)

It's the 2010's man, guys can be nurses too.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444574)

Who said anything about gender...you think bisexuals don't have fantasies?

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444488)

Most of us have elaborate fantasies about nurses behaving in sexually inappropriate manners! And you're saying you'd rather have a robot??? Whatever...

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (2)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444266)

How true. I can't enjoy recorded music, because it's simply a cold reproduction from a creepy, unsympathetic machine. Books are the same; who could expect empathy or morality from ink on a page? And don't get me started about video games.

*cough*

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444646)

And don't get me started about video games.

*cough*

C'mon, how many people here had a crush on Lara Croft (*before* the movie came out)? I'm guessing it is a statistically significant number, and if I'm right, that pretty much blows GPP's point out of the water.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444812)

I can't enjoy recorded music, because it's simply a cold reproduction from a creepy, unsympathetic machine.

Which is irrelevant - because a robot touch isn't a reproduction of a human touch, it's a simulation of a human touch - which is something else entirely.
 

Books are the same; who could expect empathy or morality from ink on a page?

Nobody sane would expect empathy or morality from ink on a page, they're inanimate objects. As with the 'reproduction v. simulation' issue above, you're not responding to the inanimate object - you're responding the meanings embedded in them by.... (drum roll) human beings.

How about robot as agent for compassion? (5, Insightful)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444284)

Are you sure? I mean, can't a compassionate programmer have programmed the robot to be compassionate to a human for him, by proxy?

I mean, if you see the robot as an agent of a programmer who wants to help you, what's so creepy about that?

--PeterM

Re:How about robot as agent for compassion? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444670)

That's an interesting point, but it would still be rather disturbingly impersonal. I bet your girlfriend wouldn't like receiving a love letter that you had bought from "Love Letters Unlimited" and just inserted her name into, would she? No matter how well-written, it just wouldn't be the same as a genuine love letter that you had actually written from the bottom of your heart (even if you suck as a writer). There is something about genuine feeling, personalized by one human directly to another, that is special.

Re:How about robot as agent for compassion? (4, Insightful)

JackOfAllGeeks (1034454) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444800)

I bet your girlfriend wouldn't like receiving a love letter that you had bought from "Love Letters Unlimited" and just inserted her name into, would she?

This is why the greeting card industry has been such a failure.

Someone didn't RTFA (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444286)

It says that in both the case of a human and a robot, the patient prefers the touching to be for a practical purpose such as cleaning and not to provide comfort.

Re:Someone didn't RTFA (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444676)

...the patient prefers the touching to be for a practical purpose such as cleaning and not to provide comfort.

Providing comfort isn't practical? Obviously, the patient hasn't met Vibrator-bot...

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444312)

Robots, on the other hand, can NEVER be empathetic or kind

Neither can stuffed animals ... but even adults can form tight emotional bonds with something they know is "fake".

It doesn't matter if robots can actually be empathetic.. or even whether someone believes they are empathetic.. people are perfectly capable of tricking themselves into personifying things they know are fake. Perception is more important than reality.

And I actually think for some situations.. having a sterile, uncaring machine vs a thinking person might be good. Weird hypothetical question... if you were at an airport and got singled out for a physical search .. would you rather it be done by a human or a machine (assuming both were just as capable for the task). Apply same question to many awkward situations ... and I think this kind of stuff does have a future.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444466)

That depends... does the robot that will be probing me have heated fingers?

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444366)

Irrelevant.

It's the perception of the person being touched that matters, not the empathy in the person touching them.
And no, many people who work with robots aren't 'creeped' out.

If people believe the robots touch will help them, then they will perceive it as friendly and warm. People attach human emotion and motives on other things all the time.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

MikeDaSpike (1196169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444380)

So, you're telling me that no one person in the world will be able to have emotional attachment to something artificially created no matter how good it is?

We read books and watch movies, what happens in there is emulated by words and body language. None of it is real, that why it's called fiction and acting. But people still have emotional attachments to what happens to the characters in the story, even though they know well that it's not "real".

Most robots "creep" people out due the uncanny valley effect. If a robot acts too mechanically, your brain is being constantly reminded that it is not a real person even though it looks like one. The easiest solution is to make robots to not look like humans. If it looks like a big-ass toy instead of a doll there's no conflict, and you will be able to attach to it emotionally as you can with dogs/cats/other animals.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

JackOfAllGeeks (1034454) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444856)

If it looks like a big-ass toy [xkcd.com] instead of a doll there's no conflict, and you will be able to attach to it emotionally as you can with dogs/cats/other animals.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444418)

All this silliness. They react like they would being touched by a branch of a tree. It's an inanimate object. Though it may have utility in purpose most would view it as a thing, an object, nothing more.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444492)

Robots, on the other hand, can NEVER be empathetic or kind--and we know this without a doubt. There touch isn't a connection and never can be. That introduces a creep factor that no amount of programming or human emulation can ever fix. Because we know they have no base morality or emotion and are incapable of empathy, robots will always inherently creep people out at best, or scare the shit out of them at worst.

If you've ever watched AFV or any number of videos on YouTube, robots can easily have more humanity and empathy than many humans. If the number of views many of these videos have mean anything, we already have massive numbers empathetic robots offering fake sympathy. Its at this point where metal versus flesh becomes a distinction without a difference.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444544)

Why is it a creep factor? Knowing precisely what goes on in the head of the toucher would feel like a relief, you know that the robot have an unconditional love for comforting you with no strings attached, even if those body temperatured electrically heated silicon skin fingers are governed by algorithms at its core. Of course if it have a webcam for head and crushes you in its cold steel manipulators while repeatively in a very single-tracked manner with a metallic voice repeats "IT WILL ALL BE OOOOKAY!" then yes, it would scare the everliving shit out of people. But give it fluid movements and a look and behaviour that is outside of the uncanny valley(although perhaps on the dense side of intellect) it sould probably do the trick.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445282)

And this research suggests that you're incorrect in this assumption. It showed that people's reaction varied, depending on the robot's perceived intent. Which is a lot like how humans respond to human touch. If I believe someone is hugging me to show encouragement I take it differently than if I believe they are hugging me because they like the feel of human body.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445342)

You're missing the physiological reflexes. Without any kind of expectation of emotional connection, touch can be comforting. There doesn't need to be an emotional connection there. For example.... when I get home cold, wrap myself up in my duvet, that is comforting. The touch of familiar things is comforting despite knowing those familiar things have no empathy (though if I don't wash my duvet soon some may argue otherwise).

Robots automatically creep people out currently, especially when simulating humans. However, they could at some point become so ubiquitous that comfort is not seen as unnatural or weird. You could claim that automatic massagers are at that kind of point already for some - they're not empathetic nor kind, but they make some users feel better.

Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (1)

Lord_Jeremy (1612839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445400)

Someone with a deep understanding or perhaps even a conception of the inner workings of said robot may understand that, but the layman may not. The appearance and presentation of a particular robot would probably play a big role in the face-value interpretation of it's "intentions." What I mean is that an individual interacting with an obviously mechanical construct covered with sharp corners, hard lines, and protruding wires is undoubtedly going to make the connection: "machine - artificial construct - no soul." While being presented with a smooth-featured, soft-colored, and possibly vaguely humanoid model may make it easier for the individual's mind to relax and subconsciously process it as another emotionally-driven being. However, I would point out that interacting with an android that's created with the intent of being as close to human in appearance, but still somewhat obviously artificial would probably have more of a creepiness factor than a more purpose-suited robot. Ever see the movie Short Circuit? :P

Depends... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444040)

Good touch or bad touch?

Re:Depends... (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444178)

[Robots] are nothing [like] mammals.
So lets do like they do on the [robotic] channel.

Re:Depends... (1)

Biff Stu (654099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444892)

You mean Pris doing her programmed job or Pris on the run?

Re:Depends... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445344)

Translate that into an Astroboy reference and I'll be...quite impressed, actually.

A few years down the line... (2)

Wolvenhaven (1521217) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444050)

Lawyer: "Now little Timmy, on this doll, show me where the robot touched you."

If life imitates art (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444070)

If life imitates art then we already know the answer [imdb.com] .

Re:If life imitates art (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444154)

That was actually a surprisingly good movie, especially considering the cast and budget. I watched in on a lark, just to laugh at Melanie Griffin in a low-budget 80's dystopia, and actually ended up watching it all the way through. Better than a lot of her big budget crap.

Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444104)

"'if people thought the robot was doing that to clean them, versus doing that to comfort them, it made a significant difference"

What if they're doing it to give you a wienie rub?

Re:Hmmm... (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444434)

I'm not up to date on the latest cooking trends... does rubbing a hot dog improve it's flavor?

## I want to hold you til I... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444132)

die "til we both break down and cry" if($honesty > $toomuch);

Re:## I want to hold you til I... (1)

jmanforever (603829) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444540)

die "til we both break down and cry" if($honesty > $toomuch);

Nice AC. I wonder how many /.ers will recognize that old Dan Hill reference from 1977. Well, maybe the Canadians, or the old timers who used to listen to AM radio. Now, get off my lawn.

Re:## I want to hold you til I... (1)

babywhiz (781786) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444938)

:) I caught it. :) I wanna hold you...till the fear in me....subsides.....

What kind of robot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444150)

One that just vibrates?

Already answered (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444152)

IIRC that question has already been sufficiently studied (and answered) in the beginning of the 20th century (cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibrator_(sex_toy)#History ).

Well... (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444156)

I wager that there is a giant segment of slashdot that is dreaming of a day when a robotic Princess Leia or (insert scifi woman here) will be a reality. So, that's probably a enthusiastic "YES, please more touching"

Re:Well... (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444236)

Haven't you seen the video? Don't you know about electroghonorrea?

Note: Don't mod if you don't know where this quote is from.

When I stop quivering... (1)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444172)

and my eyes focus again I'll let you know.

Research Study (1)

dakkon1024 (691790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444220)

Where do I sign up for the Robot Touching research study?

If a robot touches me... (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444232)

I'll tell you what I'd do [slashdot.org] .

Asked and answered ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444272)

... in hentai.

ka pow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444278)

I have a pretty good idea how Chuck Norris would respond.

Not yet, but soon. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444300)

Robots still don't have enough "common sense" (i.e. reliable prediction of consequences) for this. That's really hard, but there's steady progress. Also, all-round sensing on all surfaces, the equivalent of skin touch, is needed.

As someone who's worked with both autonomous robots and horses, it's worth comparing the two. Horses are moderately safe to be around once you can read horse body language and understand the safe positions around a horse. Some horses are safe around untrained people (this is teachable, and I once owned an ex-police horse who'd been explicitly taught it.). With most horses, you will get banged into once in a while, not deliberately, but just because a half-ton animal moved a bit.

Horses are not safe around people who can't move. Kids and ponies mix well well, but that's because the kids have fast reflexes and aren't usually hurt by falls and minor blows. It's not because the ponies are cautious.

We aren't even up to the pony level of robot safety yet.

Coming soon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444374)

"Now, show me on the doll where the robot touched you..."

"...robots that physically interact with humans." (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444382)

You mean when your Roomba bumps into your foot?

Not so difficult (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444404)

If strippers can fake empathy when they touch, then why can't robots? Are you saying robots are dumber than strippers???

Re:Not so difficult (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444630)

If strippers can fake empathy when they touch, then why can't robots? Are you saying robots are dumber than strippers???

Not dumber, just far less cynical and cunning.

Strippers are more like sociopaths or sharks. It's much more predatory.

Re:Not so difficult (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445328)

Are you saying robots are dumber than strippers??

Pffft! Now one would be foolish enough to say that!

Pedo Bot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444470)

Show me on this doll where the robot touched you...

And if you read the article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444552)

You'll find that people prefer the NON-empathetic touch of both the robot nurse *and* the human nurse over attempting to be comforted. The human nurse falls into uncanny valley just as easily as the robot does because neither of them are considered genuine.

Can you say "Sy Borg"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444644)

This is exciting; I never plooked a tiny chrome-plated machine that looks like a magical pig with marital aids stuck all over it such as yourself before.

does this fit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444708)

Can a dildo be viewed as some kind of robot? if yes then OH YEAH!

WOmen (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444726)

have been getting pleasure from the ouch of machines for years.

"Of course. Women who obtain sexual ecstasy with mechanical assistance always tend to feel guilty." - HM-tMP

Re:Women (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444752)

touch, not ouch. and I even read it.

Gee it depends (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444736)

Are they going to be TSA agents?

18" of space needed (1)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35444832)

I don't know about you guys but I have a strict rule on touching. Don't do it unless you are female and we have chemistry. Otherwise I'll give you a It's Always Sunny Mac-style punch to the face. 18 inches of personal space, respect it.

Re:18" of space needed (1)

Tuan121 (1715852) | more than 3 years ago | (#35445350)

My penis can still get you.

In the end.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35444952)

.... we're all just robots, anyway.

But seriously, our responses to stimuli are mostly programmed anyway. What's the difference? We think of ourselves as "flesh and blood" and "original" when we're all just a pile of impulses telling us how to respond to a situation.

Touched by a Robot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35445256)

I am a Robot sent by Ishiguro, to guide you in this cross roads of your life. Your need to stop reading slashdot, and make your self a sandwich.

Wait... stop... don't touch me there... i am not programmed for that sort of relations... aieee!!!!

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