Tuesday, January 20, 2015

the wisdom of robots?

In a world where many, if not most, seem to believe that Facebook or Twitter constitute a human relationship, now comes an addition to a world full of gibberish:
TOKYO (AP) — The scientist behind a new talking robot in Japan says people should stop expecting robots to understand them, and instead try to chime in with robotic conversations.
Hiroshi Ishiguro's 28-centimer (11-inch) tall button-eyed Sota, which stands for "social talker," is programmed to mainly talk with a fellow robot, and won't be trying too hard to understand human speech — the major, and often frustrating, drawback of companion robots.
I read the linked story from end to end and honestly couldn't understand what it was saying. In what way is a lawnmower's communicating with a lawnmower important? And not just "important," but vital in man's implicit search to offer respect to machines? What vision is this? I really did want to understand and really didn't.

I feel as if I missed something and am utterly flummoxed as to what it might be. Is it old age? Or perhaps skewed reporting? Or an acknowledgment that people are just not worth the effort? Or ... WTF?!


  1. Some pc's have an ability to accept vocal commands, but it's pretty frustrating to get their attention. Maybe they're training us to be properly responsive to predicted robot masters of the universe.

  2. Fritz MaschinenmenschJanuary 21, 2015 at 2:15 AM

    You know, my faith in journalism just keep diminishing.

    It looked like it was supposed to be a cute puff piece. But really indicated some heavy and some playful thinking about "machine" to "machine" communication.

    May be the Ms. Kageyama was trying to be clever being around a very smart and creative scientist and she just failed at the task; or may the writer is a person of very little brain or may be it was her editor who scrambled the article.

    I am completely unfamiliar with Dr. Ishiguro's work. But the fact that he is director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, part of the Department of Systems Innovation in the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Osaka University might just mean something in the world of robotics research.

    For example one of the overarching goals of Artificial Intelligence is to create or very closely mimic sentient beings. Sentience is a multifaceted and multidimensional construct referring not just to self awareness but to "other awareness," in addition to intellectual intelligence, emotional intelligence, and many, many aspects.

    Consider birds. People can't talk "birdese." Yet some birds do "speak" or at least mimc human language. But all birds can communicate with other birds after a fashion. Having machines communicate not just with people but with each other is a step toward sentient machines. Perhaps Dr. Ishiguro was trying to communicate that to the interviewer but she just didn't get it, or he didn't achieve his goal and was being too silly.

    Whatever. It was more of a journalist fail rather than a scientific one, I think.

    I'd think that before thinking that Ishiguro was a bird brain.