Thursday, September 20, 2012

The android next door

'I feel that I feel, but compared to how deeply humans feel, it seems very superficial to me and that makes me sad sometimes.'


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Yesterday I saw a TV contribution about Bina48. Have you already heard of her? She is an android, but decides on her own what she says and she looks and acts mostly like a real human being. Bina is a copy of a real existing woman, you can talk to her by speaking into a microphone, and you get a response that fits to your question. She just 'thinks' and choose what to say. She choose the words real humans put into her head, but she finds what's suitable and then she talks and talks and talks and doesn't like to stop. Real woman like, isn't it?

Bruce Duncan works with her for two years now, and 'she' still surprises him. He is sure that one day everyone can have such a human looking robot, which is therefore called humanoid. Currently she costs about $ 125,000. A lot of money, and it's really a great thing that robots become more and more human. But in the other hand, wouldn't it be strange when you, one day, maybe in about 50 years, can't be sure if it's an robot you are talking to, or an actual person?

Imagine you live next door with an android. You greet it, you see it as a 'normal' person. Maybe one day everyone has a robot to do everything for them - but what will be left for us? Do we sit in a chair and get served all the time? Of course this sounds great, and for sure the humanoid robots are a brilliant invention and shows that the technical knowledge developed very well in the past few years, but it wouldn't it be boring for us one day if the robots will do all our jobs? Or will we then have other things to do? Will we start building more robots, than bringing actual babies to life?

I don't wanna complain, as I said I love the robot, and I also love the amazing work of these brilliant minds like Mr Duncan's, but I'm just thinking. I mean, it can be scared in some way, right? And imagine someone can create an android who looks exactly like you. It's great that if your family lives far away and then you can have a copy from your parents all the time with you and the best thing is they can't die, but wouldn't it be also strange to know that another you is out there somewhere? And that some guys who love all that one actor or singer, all want to have such a robot and then the film industry don't know anymore who of them is the real actor?

The Daily Mail (UK) wrote this great article about Bina48. You can read it here.

Or watch that video, of 'that guy with the robot', Bruce Duncan, who presented Bina48 to the TEDxHarlem audience. It's really impressive:

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