June 21, 2004

Best In Show

Top honour for robot heroes The Robot Hall of Fame

  • Someone post a link about the uncanny valley.
  • Watching all this money being spent trying to make robots walk like humans reminds me of an Asimov story. Well, all robots remind me of an Asimov story, but this is a particular one. It was one about the early days of robots, and trying to get the robots able to walk on two feet rather than go everywhere on caterpillar-like pads. Only, as the scientists were making the breakthrough, the head of the company pulled the plug on the research. When they demanded to know why, he pointed outside. Because the robots were so valuable and made so much money, but could not handle stairs, ramps had been built everywhere, and there, on one of them, was a child in a wheelchair. "That's why," he said. So, yeah, it makes me think that we shouldn't bother trying to make robots walk on two legs.
  • jb, I understand your point. Making robots walk in two legs seems pointless. Yet there's much to be learn from it. Aside from the fact that this technology would help disabled people (have you read "The bicentenial man"?), this technology is opening our understanding of the natural world. Zoologists may be the ones who study animals overall to pay their bills, but engineers are the ones who have encouraged the most our understanding of natural mechanics and structures while creating artificial wonders. Besides, It's probably better for nature that we create technology that adapts to any enviroment rather than pushing the environment to fit the requirements of our technology. And it's economically better on the long term.