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August 29, 2005

People Creeped Out By Competent AI; Drawn To Needy AI

There's a theory in the robotics world that if a robot is too lifelike it really creeps people out. They like life-like robots up to a point -- as long as they can tell they're still robots. Perhaps an extension of this concept is brought up by Clive Thompson in his latest piece for Wired News, where he talks about the addictive qualities of Nintendogs, the latest in a long line of Tamaguchi-like games that require you to take care of a virtual "pet." While others have chalked up the success of the game to the "cuteness" of the dogs, Thompson takes a different view. He thinks that people are simply drawn to artificial intelligence that's somehow "needy." While the predictions always said we'd have super smart, perfect-acting AI machines that would be our robotic servants, Thompson believes that (like the too perfect human representations), such AI creeps us out. However, as soon as it becomes "needy," we're drawn to the cute little puppies that need our care and feeding.

Posted by dymaxion at August 29, 2005 11:01 PM



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