Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Why the US Consumer Doesn't Deserve A Decent Robot

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the little-dire-don't-you-think dept.

Businesses 311

SkinnyGuy writes "PC Magazine has up a lengthy look at how differing cultural approaches and expectations for robots are setting the stage for Amercian consumers to miss out on the best robots have to offer. The first paragraph is kind of funny: 'Someday the robots will rise up and kill us all. They'll record our lives, obliterate our privacy, set off nuclear war, and eventually turn on us and eat our brains. If any of this ever did happen, it would serve us right. We, at least American consumers, don't deserve the future that robots really have to offer.'"

cancel ×

311 comments

This.. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21284855)

This is going to make it increasingly difficult for me to take over the world! I want to know who to blame.

Re:This.. (1)

Farakin (1101889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21284915)

"Wait, you cant leave! Your my only friend." "You sure you want a robot for a friend?" "Yeah, ever since I was 6"

Re:This.. (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285017)

Well seeing as how..."of all the friends I've had... you're the first." OK!

Re:This.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21284933)

This is going to make it increasingly difficult for me to take over the world! I want to know who to blame.

This.

Re:This.. (1)

tritonman (998572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21284937)

Us Americans don't want a robot if it can't go get us a beer from the fridge. If it does anything else other than that, we don't want to pay extra for it!

Because +4 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285025)

The average U.S. consumer IS a robot for U.S.military hegemony.

Cheers,
K. Trout

-- Support democracy: Send BushCo to Gitmo

The great conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285309)

Actually the author of the article obviously belongs to the great secret cult which has plans on taking over the world, whose ultimate aim is to reduce the human population down to the inner sanctum (several hundred million people), plus a stock of slave humans for genetic diversity from which they can pick the best genes and splice them into their own family. After most of the human population is wiped out by genetically engineered diseases and a limited nuclear war, robots will perform all of the mundane tasks of life such as all of the industrial, construction, maintenance work. The inner sanctum will be run, not from the USA, but an undisclosed location at the rim of the Pacific Ocean. Most of the planet will have been left to recover from previous environmental destruction...

Sounds like.... (2)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#21284881)

Is the United States current president really a robot from the future?

Re:Sounds like.... (5, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21284919)

No, he's a robot from the past.

Don't ask, it's complicated.

Re:Sounds like.... (5, Funny)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21284931)

Wait a second, Al Gore isn't president.

Re:Sounds like.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285165)

No you idiot, a future Al Gore came back to the past as Dubya Shrub and became president. The real Dubya Shrub is dead somewhere. ;)

Re:Sounds like.... (2, Funny)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285635)

Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future

Thousands of years ago into the future Christmas was the time for the Great Red Ape in Space to descend upon the white house, painting it with decorative red and green blood of Christmas elves, moving it to the north pole and claiming that "I fully understand those who say you can't win this thing militarily. That's exactly what the United States military says, that you can't win this military", which is absolutely correct. You cannot win christmas militarily which is why I have come from thousands of years ago into the future to kill that great red ape, santa claus and run for president. My job is a decision-making job, and as a result, I make a lot of decisions. Decisions like those that apply when considering the value of the social welfare of the Indonesian pierced spider monkeys, BUT at the end of the day I got a lot of Ph.D.-types and smart people around me who come into the Oval Office and say, 'Mr. Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future President, here's what's on my mind.' And I listen carefully to their advice. But having gathered the device, I decide, you know, I say, 'THIS is what we're going to do. We're going to sell the white house soaked in the blood of christmas elves to Glenn Danzig so I can make love to Sigourney Weaver....'

Thousands of years ago into the future...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Aqua_Teen_Hunger_Force_villains#Cybernetic_Ghost_of_Christmas_Past_from_the_Future [wikipedia.org]

Bushisms

http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/blbushisms.htm [about.com]

synthesis is divine.

Re:Sounds like.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285291)

His al-gore-ithms weren't quite up to the task, I guess.

Re:Sounds like.... (1)

s.bots (1099921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285629)

If you think that is funny, I hope you get ripped apart by a rampaging robot.

Re:Sounds like.... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285449)

Gore's not a robot. Whoever heard of a stiff, nonmoveabile robot? he's a statue!

obligatory (0, Redundant)

jahknow (827266) | more than 6 years ago | (#21284923)

Sarah Connor blah blah

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21284935)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
more goatse for the masses [goatse.ch]

same story (2, Insightful)

tsjaikdus (940791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21284943)

The general public didn't care for the computer either, until it could do MSN.

Re:same story (3, Insightful)

scottrocket (1065416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285111)

I do remember a time when I would talk on and on about computers in everybody's household - and get blank stares. Com-pew--ter? I suspect the current generation of kids will embrace anthropomorphised(sic) robots in about ten-twenty years; but more likely we will see a gradual introduction of small, robot cars. Just speculation, I haven't any magic crystal ball-but I was right about computers! :)

Re:same story (2, Funny)

bdjacobson (1094909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285485)

I do remember a time when I would talk on and on about computers in everybody's household - and get blank stares. Com-pew--ter? I suspect the current generation of kids will embrace anthropomorphised(sic) robots in about ten-twenty years; but more likely we will see a gradual introduction of small, robot cars. Just speculation, I haven't any magic crystal ball-but I was right about computers! :)
I think there's a lot of us out there right now willing to embrace anthropomorphised robots.

so i can protect you (3, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21284957)

PC Magazine has up a lengthy look at how differing cultural approaches and expectations for robots are setting the stage for Amercian consumers to miss out on the best robots have to offer.

Look, they have stairs in their houses, and we have stairs in our houses. What's so hard about this?

Re:so i can protect you (1)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285275)

Look, they have stairs in their houses, and we have stairs in our houses. What's so hard about this?

My robot has telescoping legs to lift me to the second floor.

Re:so i can protect you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285367)

I am the pusher robot.

I am the shover robot... (1)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285369)

... to not trust the pusher robot. I am here to protect you.

Impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21284971)

Asimov's First Law prevents that kind of threat. How can this happen ?

Re:Impossible (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285455)

Asimov's First Law prevents that kind of threat. How can this happen ?

It works well in writing, but as soon as a movie [imdb.com] is made, it goes right out the window.

Re:Impossible (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285491)

Asimov's laws only pertain to positronic robots. As yet we still haven't discovered or invented positronics. You'll have to wait a while for Asimov's safe, obedient robot and instead make do with unsafe, obedient robots.

But ..... (4, Funny)

taniwha (70410) | more than 6 years ago | (#21284973)

those on top have been saying that about their home help for millenia .... "the robots will rise up" is exactly what the romans were worried about ..... cue long line of Blender look-a-likes heading for the scrap heap saying "I am Sparticus"

No (1)

makapuf (412290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285365)

No, no, you're wrong.
Cue long line of Bender look-a-likes heading for the scrap heap saying "Bite my shiny metal ass !".

I'm gonna have my own uprising! (3, Funny)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285499)

With hookers! And blackjack!

In fact, forget the uprising!

Does not compute (2, Funny)

StringBlade (557322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21284979)

Why would a robot want to eat our brains exactly?

Unless you're talking about ZOMBIE robots, in which case I'll have to update my Zombie Plan [roosterteeth.com]

So what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21284989)

I know this is slashdot, where technology is loved for the sake of technology, but seriously - are robots really that important? I guess I'm like the "average American consumer" in my disinterest in robots - be they androids or those little vaccum things. I'd rather do things myself, or have another human do it. Why? Because even dumb humans are going to be able to adapt more readily than the smartest robots we have today.

Would you want your house built by a robot that was programmed by someone who has never built a house but who read a book, or by someone who has been doing it for 20 years and can make adjustments as they are required to work within the actual, physical situation - not some theory from an architects' manual? Would you rather have your house cleaned by some cold, metal machine, or by some sexy, 20 year old, Russian girl?

Frankly, its just like the people who complain on here that calculators have made kids suck at math. if we start to rely on the machines all the time, then we're going to lose the skills ourselves. The pool of people that will be able to debug and improve the machines will shrink over time. Eventually, we'll be fucked - and not by that sexy, 20 year old, Russian housekeeper.

Re:So what? (3, Interesting)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285121)

Would you rather have your house cleaned by some cold, metal machine, or by some sexy, 20 year old, Russian girl?
At least the robot won't be robbing me blind and will actually clean a disorganized house in detail (house cleaners generally don't as they doubt you'd notice).

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285305)

<slashbot>
Well if a maid robs you, you weren't paying her enough. Or you should have bolted down everything that you didn't want moved. You should have watched her. You shouldn't have a disorganized house anyway. Therefore, it's all your fault.
</slashbot>

Re:So what? (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285527)

How is this informative. If you have housekeepers stealing from you have them arrested. If they aren't doing a good job, fire them. If you accept a crappy job from them, why are we to believe you wouldn't accept a crappy job from a robot?

Re:So what? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285163)

IMO a house built by a robot would probably be significantly better than one built by humans. After all what items are better constructed by people than robots? Most US houses are building from low quality materials in a haphazard fashion by cheep semi skilled labor. A robot construction crew could probably build a house in 1/10th the time and make 1/50th the mistakes so what's not to like?

Re:So what? That's wha! (3, Interesting)

jgarra23 (1109651) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285231)

Going on what you said, I don't believe that we as humans will see robots move out of the realm of managing and executing repetitious and/or dangerous tasks for several generations. This will be for a couple reasons. First, everything you said. Second, the general public will look at robots with general fear and uncertainty much like they do with the idea of cloning.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing- the wisdom of ignorant crowds is often underrated- they KNOW they are not ready for robots or androids yet thus they look at them with fear. Sort of like giving a kid a gun and telling them to do what they please without any training, this is the general public and whether they know this or not, they effectively are "dumb" enough to intervene.

Re:So what? (1)

PyroPenguin (827234) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285361)

You are forgetting 2 huge points...
1) This is Slashdot...most people here would not know what to do with that sexy, 20 year old, Russian housekeeper unless she also cracked the latest encryption to Adobe...
2) If robots built houses...then only the fast food restaurants would hire the illegals...we can't deny the illegals employment.

Re:So what? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285563)

Would you rather have your house cleaned by some cold, metal machine, or by some sexy, 20 year old, Russian girl?

I would rather have my house cleaned by a humanoid robot with the visage of a sexy 30 year old woman, who being a robot would do what I told it to do.

I want a female Jander Pannell [wikipedia.org] . No more having to cook, no more having to clean, no more crack whores ripping me off...

-mcgrew

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285581)

"I guess I'm like the 'average American consumer'... I'd rather do things myself..."

The I can count on your not showing up in IRC later asking any of the following?:

"How do I download the Internet?"
"Why won't my laptop work without a battery?"
"How do I compile this on my cellphone?"
"Am I left-handed or right-handed? I forgot."

Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto (4, Funny)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285003)

Domo...

Re:Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto (1, Funny)

93,000 (150453) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285145)

...Domo

I, for one... (1, Funny)

objekt (232270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285019)

...welcome our new robotic overlords!

Re:I, for one... (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285055)

Isn't the whole point of this article that Americans are being denied the best of the best when it comes to robotic overlords to welcome. It's a shame what this country has become... it really is.

Re:I, for one... (2, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285587)

But do the robotic overlords run Li... OW! OW OK!
In soviet OW STOP IT
Imagine a beowoURK GURGLE
*thump*

Dumb memes. (1)

Besna (1175279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285173)

I wonder if we already have the robots in the mix.

Imagine... (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285395)

...a beowulf cluster of Decent Robots (c)(tm)...

Re:Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285489)

Can someone please explain to me the root of this Beowulf joke? I feel like I'm missing out...

umm (1)

colourmyeyes (1028804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285021)

...and just what was the point of that, exactly? I actually read TFA - guess I'm never getting those five minutes back.

Re:umm (2, Interesting)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285233)

The article has little or no point. We are, again, a victim of the firehose.

An article is submitted to the firehose that mentions "cool cutting edge technology" and is American bashing. What do you think the outcome will be?

The articles voted up due to the firehose are probably as well examined as most others are by posters who lead their posts with "I did not RTFA".

Real Doll (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285037)

My dreams of a fully functional and cooperative Real Doll are ruined!

The FA is -1 stupid (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285039)

His point seems to be that Americans are threatened by robots with personality.

Back up the truck. American's recognize that personality is an unneeded and costly add on for robots. A roomba with a head and arms that walked around and vacuumed my house wouldn't threaten anything other than my banking account. The frisbee shaped roombas already cost too much. There is no way in hell I'm going to pay extra for personality.

Clue to the author:

Unless you are building a sex toy, giving a robot human (or animal) shape is expensive and pointless. Don't blame Americans for seeing through this.

Re:The FA is -1 stupid (2, Insightful)

Fx.Dr (915071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285529)

"Unless you are building a sex toy, giving a robot human (or animal) shape is expensive and pointless"

Wait, what?

Um...

So... how much longer until legislation catches up with that fringe market?

Re:The FA is -1 stupid (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285673)

Word. Plus Portal already shows that American's don't get attached to Robots. Especially ones that try to kill them.

Americans as a whole are too cheap (3, Insightful)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285069)

Americans are going to get robots made at rock bottom prices with shoddy programming because people are too cheap to buy a quality model. Bloomingdales or Macys will have decent models, but Target and Wal Mart are going to have the crappy models.

Re:Americans as a whole are too cheap (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285433)

Americans are going to get robots made at rock bottom prices with shoddy programming because people are too cheap to buy a quality model. Bloomingdales or Macys will have decent models, but Target and Wal Mart are going to have the crappy models.

...coated in lead and GHB...

Killbot (3, Interesting)

Migylesa Rex (1148337) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285073)

I consider android-esque robots to be both fascinating and utterly terrifying. It's an impressive technology, and the uses for it are nigh endless. However, putting robots into the hands of the average american? America has been a DIY nation from the start, so it's feasable that the technically savvy/wealthy crazies out there would be able to modify or buy modified robots. They could make armed robots with a skin (ever seen those "real dolls"?)that could resemble a human from a distance or to a glancing eye, or who knows what else. I don't think they'll rise against us, I just don't want people to have them.

human-form robots (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285137)

And here I was thinking that the ends of anthropomorphic robots, are nigh useless.

Really, the point of robots is that they are modular and versatile. The human-form is only optimal if you're constrained to a one-size-fits-all spec, as genetics and natural selection are implicitly in the notion of species.

And as far as dangers from wealthy crazies with malicious intent, just think a bit about bioweapons and you'll find much more pressing worries than these far-off Philip Dick-novel wannabes. Hell, if I were a rich maniac I would just pay the homeless and bored suburbanites in weapons, cash, whores, drugs, and/or promises of revolution, to go on a kill rampage. Much more effective than a replicant.

Why indeed (1)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285081)

Problems with AI aside, I don't understand why anyone will want to create an intelligent machine that have the potential to surpass us humans, or worse, fail, and create a monster. We have read about robotic anti-aircraft guns going haywire and killing people. It is just plain evolutionary suicide. As cheesy as they sound, those sci-fi stories have some truth in them. For good or for evil, we are masters of this planet. Why jeopardise this position? Maybe, instead of creating robots of the Asimovian mold, we should place a limit on the potential intelligence of robots, maybe at most of an obedient dog.

THey allready took power (1)

eiapoce (1049910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285097)

This article is outdated. As a matter of fact one of they governor is a terminator from the future! :D

I relize this was satire mostly.. (3, Insightful)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285135)

However..

The consumer robotics market is not going to explode. American consumers simply aren't mature enough. Instead, the future of robotics will, for the next decade or so, be a story of embedded technologies

The entire article focuses around this point. The idea that robots will some day become common place. That we will have "robot repair centers" and the like(Although he never mentioned that in the article, he hints at this kind of common place usage in other countries). The simple fact of the matter is that even the "best level" consumer robotics are horribly unuseful. The only useful one is the vacuum robot.

I work with robotics as a hobby, and consider myself a little above a "novice" in applied robotics. The issue at hand today is not a technological one, is it an inspiritional one. Try and think of a useful robot.

Go ahead, do it.

What did you come up with? If you're like most people the idea of a robotic butler("Bring me a beer robot jeeves"), perhaps a robotic lawn mower, maybe even a robotic gaurd who patrols your house.

The problem is that all of these already exist in various forms.

Take for example the robotic butler. Lets say you are watching football and you want a beer. You would simply hit "beer" on your remote and the little robot would wander off. Lets say it takes him 45 seconds to get it and bring it over. You can do it in 15. Also, you can go to the bathroom while you're up. So the only time it would be very useful is when you are being lazy and want to "veg".

So would you spend say 400$ on this robotic butler simply to be lazy? Is buying an ice chest and ice really that hard?

What of the gaurd robot? People buy dogs for this normally, or alarms. Both are easy to use, fufilling(dogs at least), and relatively wide used.

Robots are not popular in america because A. We don't need them for day to day activities. B. We already have conviences we enjoy, and most people do not want to be so lazy as to never move. C. The majority of America is only now becoming PC enabled.. try making them robot enabled. D. There are no good robot needs.

Suggested mods:

1. Troll

2. Flamebait.

Suggest responses:

1. Nub.

2. You're an idiot, your argument makes no sense and furthermore I would love robot that does

Re:I relize this was satire mostly.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285265)

You're an idiot, your argument makes no sense and furthermore I would love robot that does

Re:I relize this was satire mostly.. (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285301)

IMHO home robotics is less about human replacement, but more about human enhancement. I for one want my thermostat to warm up the house before I get up each morning, have my coffee waiting, and have rice (I'm Asian, sue me) ready by the time I get home from work. I would also like my garage door to open when I start the car, and close behind me when I leave. For most people this is a "no duh, we can already do all those things very well", but that's just my point - robotics in the form of humanoid bipeds walking about talking like C3PO will not be popular in our lifetimes, I don't think. "Invisible" robots that manage our lives in the background, IMHO, are far more useful, as the market is proving.

Re:I relize this was satire mostly.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285663)

... have my coffee waiting, and have rice (I'm Asian, sue me) ready by the time I get home from work.

We already have things that do that... they're called women.

Re:I relize this was satire mostly.. (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285371)

2. You're an idiot, your argument makes no sense and furthermore I would love robot that does
I would pay $400 for a robot that flicks the sensor in our new baby from "I'm in a seat/crib/swing, scream bloody murder." to "I'm being held, sleep."

Re:I relize this was satire mostly.. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285659)

I think the device you're looking for is called a "nanny." Although they may be available for purchase in other parts of the world for $400, that is unfortunately prohibited by law here, and importation or acquisition on the gray market is strongly discouraged.

There are, however, models available for lease, rental, or timeshare at affordable prices, with correspondingly varied quality.

Robots? We don't even deserve refrigerators (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285147)

If you do the math, it's not possible for every family on this planet to have a refrigerator. Not even close. There is not enough energy and not enough resources. Do you think that Americans are privileged and other people don't deserve one, too? If we had our priorities straight we would figure out how to feed people without refrigeration and do away with one of our biggest energy sinks.

If there is a household robot, it's going to have to have a much better energy source than Bender's belching fuel cell.

Re:Robots? We don't even deserve refrigerators (4, Informative)

Xeriar (456730) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285515)

If you do the math, it's not possible for every family on this planet to have a refrigerator. Not even close. There is not enough energy and not enough resources.

Assuming a ~3-KW fridge (beefy!), 2-person families, that's ~3.333... billion families (I'm being lazy), or 10 terawatts. This, of course, is assuming they're all running all the time.

Total energy production of human civilization: ~15 terawatts - Energy to spare!

Total energy Earth receives from the Sun: 174 petawatts

There needs to be a '-1: Poster is incapable of basic math' mod.

Love and Sex With Robots (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285153)

...is the title of a book I have seen reviewed a few times recently and is due out shortly. As the title suggests, the author explores the possibilities of love and physical relationships with robots. There is also a discussion [newscientist.com] over at New Scientist magazine about the book.

All sorts of issues come to mind. If androids are self-aware, it would be wrong to use them as sex slaves. If we make androids find humans physically attractive, that would be a very artificial thing to program in. How much worse would it be to go further and make an android artificially attracted to a particular individual?

If there is an eventual robot revolution, I suppose it would be much easier on the eye if it was an army of sexy fembots rather than terminators.

Stupid article (4, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285155)

Show me some evidence that Americans have an aversion to robots. You can't, because it doesn't exist. What it really proves is that Americans don't have a particular cultural desire for "robot buddies" as the Japanese seem to.

But the bigger issue is that we don't have any real robot technology that can do anything useful. And we won't have that until we have a real science of Artificial Intelligence, which doesn't exist right now.

Create a consumer a humanoid robot maid that can do all household chores, and Americans would buy millions of them without a qualm. Of course, the next step would be sex robots disguised as maid robots because of the social stigma of sexbots. When we have *that*, we'll have robots everywhere.

Re:Stupid article (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285423)

I'd like to disagree with you on a minor point. It is not that we have no desire, it is that we have neither the required technology to inspire the desire nor the perceived value in a bang-for-buck kind of way.

If you could get a lawn care robot that just did it's thing without supervision or assistance, people would snap them up like Roombas. When such exists, they will be hot ticket items. It is the lack of value that is the problem. There are plenty of people that will go out on the bleeding edge for something that appears to have at least intrinsic value. We, in the US, generally don't need computerized friends... we have the intarwebs for god's sake.

My prediction is that the first form of accepted AI in the average American home will be a combination of AI and current home technologies (phone, security, Internet, entertainment etc.) such that the rise of robots comes like the rise of fascism... slowly, and with seeming need for it , but need for only one upgrade at a time.

Predictions such as your vehicle talking to your home PC regarding maintenance requirements etc. is but one such 'needed' function. Anthropomorphic robots will not fill the American xmas wish list, it will be this security add-on, or that multimedia upgrade, or the other appliance upgrade, until they are working as a single system, performing most of the duties of a single human maid/handyman.

Re:Stupid article (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285555)

I'd like to disagree with you on a minor point. It is not that we have no desire, it is that we have neither the required technology to inspire the desire nor the perceived value in a bang-for-buck kind of way.

I think that's more-or-less what I said, unless I'm misunderstanding your point.

Re:Stupid article (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285603)

Show me some evidence that Americans have an aversion to robots.

I don't have any proof of that, but a lot of Americans seem to have some aversion to many kinds of technology. Even on this board you might see people complain that they "just want a phone", and I think that's part of why phones available in the US are lower tech than overseas. And despite the fact that the average American watches something like 3-4 hours of TV a day, they won't buy HDTVs, only a third of US homes have an HDTV right now.

Of course, the next step would be sex robots disguised as maid robots because of the social stigma of sexbots.

There seems to be a lot more Japanese people with a maid fetish than in the US, so there's not much of a difference there.

How impolite of PC Magazine (1)

Steeltalon (734391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285169)

Shouldn't they be welcoming our Robotic Overlords?

U.S. Consumer? (3, Insightful)

Bigboote66 (166717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285171)

The article goes to great lengths to bash the American consumer, yet where does it speak to an alternative? Vaguely mentioning "the Japanese" hardly counts. If American expectations of robots are absurdly high, Japanese expectations are equally absurdly low. It seems the only stories you ever hear about Japanese robots, other than Asimo, are essentially attempts to make animatronic puppets that resemble people or pets so closely until they finally achieve "uncanny valley" levels of creepiness. Yet these "robots" offer no real functionality. If we want to make generalizations, we may as well say the Japanese are obsessed with creating the appearance of robots, without actually fulfilling any other purpose other than "Kawaii!!!"

Case in point: He brings up the Aibo. Of course the market rejected it - who has $2000 to spend on a battery-powered dog whose novelty wears off after about 6 hours, unless you're a programmer who wants to use them for competitions or hacking. And cheap knock-offs costing $40 or less quickly showed up and sold well, demonstrating that there was a market for trivial fluff, as long as it was priced right.

And then there's the Roomba. Sure, it works in certain well-defined environments to remove minor debris; but we're talking about a device that takes over for a task that most of us only spend an hour/week doing, if that, and only for a single floor. This isn't to say that the Roomba is a failure, or that vacuum-cleaning robots are a dead end. It's a decent start, and there's no reason that a fully functional vacuum robot that does as good a job as a person with a full size vac isn't in the near future, but for now, unless you're Stephen Hawking, a Roomba is more about entertainment than cleaning a house.

And that's what it really boils down to: people will embrace robots when they fulfill some useful purpose that is worth the price you'll pay for them, the hassle factor in dealing with them, and the real estate they take up in your closet when you're not using them. We will get there - the recent Urban Challenge for autonomous cars reported hear earlier is a stepping stone - but stop putting the cart before the horse and demanding some hypothetical consumer buy a lot of novelty garbage just to get an industry a jump start.

-BbT

Just shoot me (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285203)

From TFA:

Both Japan and America face similar 21st-century challenges, the biggest of which is probably the care of our rapidly aging populations.
And then goes on to extol the wonders of robots as sources of companionship.

Well, as one of those "aging population" boomers, I'm not desperate enough to want a robot as a human surrogate, and I'm glad that my kids managed to grow up with human (rather than electronic) companions.

What TFA seems to be looking forward to is Isaac Asimov's Sirian dystopia, where humans (almost) never come into personal contact, instead relying on robotic intermediaries. (He never directly addressed the issue of reproduction. Maybe Asimov anticipated /.)

Anyway, if the day comes that I'm dependent on robots for companionship, I'll waive my First Law rights and you can send in the Kevorkianbot.

Re:Just shoot me (1)

Changa_MC (827317) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285493)

I'm pretty sure you mean Solarian, not Syrian. Syria is a real place.

Re:Just shoot me (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285653)

I'm pretty sure you mean Solarian,
Nope -- the Solarian population was, if anything, robophobic.

not Syrian. Syria is a real place.
People of the Sirius culture. What would you call them?

Re:Just shoot me (1)

painQuin (626852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285571)

in the Foundation series the planet of people who never interacted had genetically modified themselves to be hermaphroditic, and then on towards telekinesis..

How about becoming robots? (1)

Besna (1175279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285205)

Talk about the stuff hitting the fan! William Shatner endorses it--transhumanism will hit.

The real question is... (1)

y86 (111726) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285213)

Will they run linux?!

I, for one... (1)

Elf_h34d3r (955909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285219)

Oh, this is too easy...

Re:I, for one... (1)

Elf_h34d3r (955909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285399)

Nevermind, someone beat me to this by 15 minutes...

Labor (4, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285235)

As long as America has cheap Mexican labor, they won't need robotic labor. One of the main reasons for Japans enthusiasm for robotic helps has to do with their demographics shift and their general xenophobia/aversion to immigration from poorer Asian countries.

Better question (1)

butterwise (862336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285241)

Ever consider that no robot deserves the US Consumer?

Not human enough, not non-human enough (2, Insightful)

JerryLove (1158461) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285263)

The article touches on but, in my opinion, doesn't do justice to a well documentet trait of human nature: That how appealing we find a representation (robot, image, etc) lives on a bell curve. Something that has some resembelance to, say, a dog; we will connect with. When it moves from "dog-ish" to looking like a plastic-dog-zombie, it grosses us out. As long as we are seeing the robot and finding similarities with the dog, it's appealing for the resembelances. When the reality gets close enough that we are seeing the dog and finding the robot, then it's freaky. The answer is simple, and hardly does anything to stop adoption of robots... give them faces, but not ones that look like zombie-people. I think the movie I-Robot did a really good job of creating a robotic design that had all the traits that would cause us to view it as a peer, while keeping out that "freaky" effect of the rubber mask. BTW: We see the same thing in rendered people. When we move from "realistic but obviously a CGI" to "looks not-quite-real" we cease to find them appealing (they also stop feeling generic). There's also a place for distinctly non-human robots. While I do agree that the telepresence robot likely should have been taller and had more manipulation ability... I see no reason that the roomba should have been 4ft and worked a vacuum with its hands... that's just adding unneccessairy size and complexity to an efficient little robot.

Here's the real reason... (3, Insightful)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285273)


  Most of them can't figure out how to hide the expense of a Real Doll from their spouses anyway, so a *robotic* version, being even more expensive, would be out of the question!

Attemps at lifelike featres always look creepy. (1)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285295)

Take a look at the Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil vidio games. Those zombies and monsters are great but the person who is supposed look normal looks disgusting. The features are never controled right to look healthy.

What's the point of Humanoid Robotics? (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285317)

I fail to see the benefit for me of interacting with a robotic receptionist (over say, a human one).

Why should I want my robot vacuum to look like a tiny slave in my employ?

Why should I want children to have really sophisticated robot toys?

Why should I want any of that?

The article seems to imply that the lack of consumer interest in humanoid robotics is somehow socially retarded. I think consumers like it when machines can help them, it's largely irrelevant what they look like or how they behave if they do a good job.

IHBT (2, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285401)

Deserve?

I have robots. My car has robotics (cruise control, temperature control), my VCR has robotics, my former boss has a robot vaccuum cleaner and a robot lawnmower. Hell, I built a robot from my erector set when I was in 6th grade (yes, I'm a nerd and no apologies for it).

The fact that South Korea has an "ethical treatment of robots" mentality and the Japanese build robots to look like us and be our pals shows me that they, not we, are the ones who "don't deserve robots."

AFAIC those who see robots for what they are - unfeeling, unthinking tools - are the ones who deserve robots. Those who anthropomorphise [wikipedia.org] these creations of human diligence are the ones who don't deserve them.

-mcgrew

No animals were harmed in the creation of this comment. Except for lunch, of course.

Attack of the killer robots (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285413)

The article author has a very good point. People tend to become paranoid of robots. Robots are slaves (in fact, that's what the name "robot" means), they don't achieve AI by "accident", much less the sudden burst of consciousness in the movies I-Robot or Terminator. Being attacked by a Rumba Vacuum cleaner? Now that'd be a youtube clip I'd like to watch.

But then I thought of it a little more, and I came out with some japanese sci-fi robot rebellions: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and Ergo Proxy.

In SAC, robots often went out of control, but this was usually due to criminal activities by people who implanted an intrusive program into the recipient robot. In Ergo Proxy, robots achieved consciousness by being infected with the "cogito" virus. In turn, these could activate other robots and give them self-consciousness. However, this is still sci-fi.

Now, I wouldn't mind having a humanoid robot helping doing the chores at home - as long as it doesn't have a wireless internet connection, and it's not programmed by Microsoft ;-)

You Must Protect Yourself (3, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285417)

Like most Americans, I'm concerned about robots. That's why I have Old Glory Insurance [youtube.com] coverage.

Yes they do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285473)

...ED-209 [wikipedia.org] comes to mind.

Not much of an article... (1)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285503)

FTA: There's an obvious comfort level with the now five-year-old iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner. It doesn't look like us or any of our pets. We understand that there is some intelligence in there, but we are not threatened by it. If iRobot had made a 4-foot-tall Roomba with a face and a hand to hold a vacuum hose, the company wouldn't have sold more than ten units. [...] For the past few years, I thought that a successful Pleo launch or more companies competing with the AIBO or even the Roomba would spell success for the robotics industry. [...] The consumer robotics market is not going to explode. American consumers simply aren't mature enough.

It's certainly true that it would be harder to sell bipedal robots than roombas, but not for the reason the writer thinks.

The Roomba costs $200. A second hand AIBO [ebay.com] costs several thousand dollars. The four foot three inch bipedal ASIMO [wikipedia.org] costs in the region of $1,000,000.

The $200 vacuuming robot is a commercial success because it does a job well and people can afford it. An Aibo or Asimo, on the other hand, is like a Segway: Expensive and more like a toy than a tool.

Certainly, Japanese culture seems more 'into' humanoid robots - (girl) robots are commonplace in games like Persona 3 [wikipedia.org] and Xenosaga [wikipedia.org] - but if you want to see American robotics in action, you need look no further than the Urban Challenge [wikipedia.org] .

I would simply say that cultures like Japan's are interested in robots for robots' sake, while American culture is more interested in 'what can robots do for me?' - and neither approach is inherently better than the other.

Just my $0.02.

Silly Meatbags (1)

brewstate (1018558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285537)

Robots don't eat meat they squish it.

"With Folded Hands" (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285577)

Scariest story I ever read. That's all I'm sayin'.

Don't Make True AI ever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285601)

Whenever people talk to me about creating true AI I wonder if they are crazy. In my book, true AI would be a computer with ability to say no. Thats what it means to be sentient in many ways. Essentially you say robot I want you to do X and it says no I want to do Y. This is no desirable at all and it really quite scary.

I say make them smart, but never make them sentient or able to say no. It can only lead to bad places.

There IS a robot in your future! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21285607)

Mmmmmmm... sexbots!


I'm still waiting for my Marilyn Monrobot...

Obligatory xkcd reference (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#21285637)

http://xkcd.com/251/ [xkcd.com] ... sure I can overpower it *now*
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...