David Lee reports from the Innorobo 2012 conference and comes up with 'Is the dream of having a robot companion over?'Apparently it is, because:
1) A five year old girl is mildly frightened by a robot and so this is one of the industries biggest hurdles: 'What will it take for Kibo to be Emi's friend, rather than the subject of her nightmares?'
Sure, it's initially frightening, but leave the robot with her for an hour and you won't get the thing back without an epic meltdown. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of children rather than industry threatening hurdle.
2) '...the industry should perhaps look to recreate simpler, smaller tasks.'
Says the guy that makes the Roomba, a vacuum cleaner. No self interest involved there.
3) 'That kind of notion for a service robot we think is completely wrong.'
Says the guy that makes the RoboThespian, a next generation Teddy Ruxpin. No self interest involved there.
So general purpose robots are not happening, because a girl was initially nervous and two companies focused on special purpose robotics would rather talk about their niches. Thanks for wasting my time on this BBC.
I'm wasting more time writing about it for two reasons.
The Internet is killing headlines (something I agree with Paul Carr on). BBC news is egregiously awful, both for overwrought link bait and for using warn too much. The dream of a robot companion will never be over.
More importantly, think about every news story that either covered an event or an industry you're deeply familiar with and you'll realize that it's wrong, usually seriously so. What are the chances that it's only those stories that flawed in this way?
Photo Credit: AV8PIX Christopher Ebdon