thinking is dangerous

A is for awesome


Wired: R is for Robot

In the back of the lab, by a coffee table made from scrap pegboard left over from Rubi's exoskeleton, Movellan tells me in hushed tones about the epiphany that pushed him headlong into the world of affective computing. In the fall of 2002, he was working in Kyoto at ATR, the Japanese government's robot research lab, sinking deeper and deeper into the mathematics of machine perception, drifting in the intellectual tides and feeling uninspired by it all. "I was very skeptical. There was a robot there, and I didn't like it. It would say things like 'Hug me! Hug me!' It really irritated me." One day Movellan found himself using the robot to test an early version of the face-tracking program that he and Fasel developed here in La Jolla. "It worked really, really well. As I was testing it, I kept moving, and this robot kept looking at me, and his eyes moved in a particular way, and I got close, and this robot kept looking at me. And then it hugged me. And it completely got me." Movellan was shocked by the strength of his own response. "I said, 'What's happening here? I know this thing is dead. I mean, it's not alive. But I would swear that this thing is alive.'"
22:08 :: :: eripsa :: permalink