Monday, July 05, 2010

Discovering a Soft Spot for Circuitry - Robot Machines as Companions - NYTimes.com

Not entirely clear who/what is being programmed in this scenario

But building a machine that fills the basic human need for companionship has proved more difficult. Even at its edgiest, artificial intelligence cannot hold up its side of a wide-ranging conversation or, say, tell by an expression when someone is about to cry. Still, the new devices take advantage of the innate soft spot many people have for objects that seem to care — or need someone to care for them.

Their appearances in nursing homes, schools and the occasional living room are adding fuel to science fiction fantasies of machines that people can relate to as well as rely on. And they are adding a personal dimension to a debate over what human responsibilities machines should, and should not, be allowed to undertake.

Discovering a Soft Spot for Circuitry - Robot Machines as Companions - NYTimes.com

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