More Than Meets the Eye

Monday, July 30, 2007

Robots with artificial intelligence have been a science fiction staple for decades, but now some researchers might be close to making them a reality. New York Times contributing writer Robin Marantz Henig and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Rodney Brooks describe new machines that can make eye contact, read social cues, and even help out around the house. Are they too good to be true?

Read Henig's article, "The Real Transformers."

Weigh in: What would you like a robot to do?


Rodney Brooks and Robin Marantz Henig

Comments [11]

lb from ft.greene

I would like a robot to do my filing at work....and carry me home when I am tired. The dishes would be nice too.

Jul. 30 2007 02:58 PM
Donna from New York City

Is anyone familiar with Dr. Masahiro Mori's "The Buddha in the Robot," published in 1974. It was in my library at the time. As I recall, he was a robot engineer, had a practical and engaging style, as I recall, and without abstract philosophical views (he is a Buddhist), pitched his views of how Buddhist principles are at work in modern society. Is he still alive?

Jul. 30 2007 12:47 PM
Seyna from NYC

This reminds me of the Harry Harlow experiments in the 50's and 60's, where he had two fake "mothers" for baby monkeys: one stick-like, one soft. The babies were always more attracted to the soft one, but even a stick with a mother-like body structure was better than no mommy at all!

Jul. 30 2007 12:34 PM

Haven't any of these people seen the movie "Terminator"? All R&D into robots should be halted immediately before it's too late!

Jul. 30 2007 12:34 PM
chestine from NY

I'd like a robot to clean my apt. and maybe run errands if that would be safe. Do laundry, keep order in the house, clean, maybe help with kitchen prep - I'd like a full time housekeeper!!

Jul. 30 2007 12:32 PM

There was a marvelous episode on Star Trek TNG where it was proposed that Data be taken apart so his brain could be used as a prototype for further studies. The issue was what rights a sentient robot had. Any thoughts?

Jul. 30 2007 12:25 PM
kale from NYC

i would like a robot to kill humans off and then live in peace.

Jul. 30 2007 12:24 PM

Curious if the guests could share the thoughts within the researchers' community re: what is the end result with respect to developing robots. Is there uniform agreement as to how far development should go into the future? Is there debate within the community re: going to far/"playing god" to an extent?

Jul. 30 2007 12:22 PM
Brad from Whippany, NJ

When Robots become autonomous to perform certain tasks, who will bare the responsibility for liability for damage or injury that they may cause? Will we have robot insurance, like car insurance?

Jul. 30 2007 12:18 PM
bk from tribeca

love me

Jul. 30 2007 10:21 AM
Donna from Tashkent, Uzbekistan

I am a native New Yorker who has been living and working in Asia (Viet Nam, Philippines, Uzbekistan)for the last nine years. I have four cats -- they go where I go. If I had a robot I would love it to spot when each of my little ones heads to the bathroom to use one of the three litter boxes in my house, and then to clean it out immediately after use.


Jul. 30 2007 04:11 AM

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