OK maybe not funnier, but in Wired‘s “Better Than Human” article in this month’s issue, there’s really a lot to think about here as far as robots are concerned as we enter the year 2013.
It used to be a thing where people would joke how technology has become all Minority Report-like, and this and that. But now the line between our once simply perceived reality and this fantasy world has become less distinct; advancements in technology and things like robots that can play violin or grow skin really make you step back for a moment to consider what we’ve actually created.
And this is only the beginning! The beginning of something Jimmy Fallon says we should be getting excited about:
“On the weekends, I’ll hangout with my robot buddy. (His name will be Blarvex 840. I’ll call him Jim.) We’ll walk my dog together along ht West Side Robot Motorway–I’ll slip a Jamba Juice, he’ll munch playfully on a handful of loose bolts. He’ll tell me ow things are going at the show. And Ill tell him about all the projects I’ve been putting off for years–like my still unfinished version of Leisure Suit Larry: The Musical; or my Brady Bunch fanfic novel, 50 Shades of Greg; or my quest to finally master C++ so I can finish that program to help me catalog my VHS library. Or my tireless campaign to legalize heroin.” —Jimmy Fallon, on the rise of the machines.
Now, you might be thinking: how could a robot do things like, say, perform stand up comedy, or serve you food at a restaurant? Well, it’s more of a question of: how can they not?
Zhang Yong Pei, chair of China’s Shandong Dalu Technology and owner of the Dalu Robot Restaurant (not to be confused with the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku), says that as a robot restaurateur he was growing frustrated at the never failing employee turnover. He added that, “Robots are very efficient and won’t get moody[.]”
They also cost less. On average, one robot’s flat rate of $3,200-4,700—lasting an expected 10 years—a better and more efficient value than dealing with that of a human employee (and no drama!). Can you imagine?
Robots can also be funny. A French company Aldebaran Robotics Data invented a robot named (very appropriately) “Data,” who has performed at the TED talks and delivers some automated punchlines. But it’s not just a joke-spewing robot; what makes Data unique is the ability for it to listen to audiences’ reactions—laughter, silence—and adjusts accordingly, making it a lot easier to recover from an inevitable onstage bomb.
So don’t be surprised to see robots appearing more frequently as teachers, as nurses, athletes—it’s only a matter of time. The robots are coming…
(photo via Red Orbit)