Anthropological Reflections on Anthropomorphic Robots
An increase in the presence of anthropomorphic robots has occurred since the turn to the 21st century. In particular, the presence of anthropomorphic robots among human populations has increased over the past seven years. The latest example is BlessU-2, a robot priest now providing Biblical verses and absolution in five languages.
Anthropomorphic artificial constructs have long held humanity’s fascination. Stories of automata are common across time, culture (e.g. Greek, Chinese), and religion (e.g. Judaism, Islam). In almost every account, automata are intended to function better than homo sapiens sapiens, thus making our lives easier. Since the end of WWII, all industrialized countries have moved to increased automation in varying degrees. However, the technology for increasingly anthropomorphic robots has only recently advanced to a degree that allows human-like functionality.
BlessU-2 is not the first anthropomorphic robot specifically designed to interact with the general population. A Longquan Buddhist temple in China uses a small robot to assist in teaching about Buddhism. A robotic law enforcement officer is active in Dubai, and more than a few companies are working towards producing robots designed for those intimate adult moments.
This represents the trifecta of topics not to discuss at parties (religion, politics, sex), which is a boring party indeed. Surely it is not coincidence that these activity spheres also receive a high degree of attention by most people on a daily basis, a situation that has existed since pre-history. Furthermore, all three feature prominently in the definition of humanity, particularly in reference to the concepts of culture and society.
Anthropology provides a broad definition of culture as a strategy of adaptations. The adaptations manifest as learned, shared behaviors, transmitted non-biologically as ideas and rules that provide guidelines for relationships. A general definition of society is a group of people with sustained interaction and a shared culture. Sustained interaction means the broad-spectrum of relationships, so culture provides the guidelines for how we interact with our fellow humans during each and every interaction that occurs.
Seen through the lens of anthropology, these robots are examples of replacing one side of the relationship within the socio-cultural context of the human experience. Does the replacement of one side of a relationship with an artificial construct change how we define humanity? I posit that the definition does not change in the slightest because the use of robots is an example of an adaptive strategy, just like any other tool. All humans, to varying degrees, employ a relationship that replaces the “human” on one side of the human-to-human relationship. A good example is religion as it consists of a human-to-supernatural relationship. A more recent introduction is human-to-robot relationships such as at the ATM, the grocery store check-out, tablets and mobile phones.
The interesting question is why the use of anthropomorphic robots is increasing in popularity. Many studies show that people prefer non-human looking robots, and that while the human form is quite good for many things, it is not so good at quite a lot of other things for which different forms are more suitable. Is robot anthropomorphism representing a “build what you know” mentality? Is it a metric by which robotic engineers can compete since such a form requires a tremendous amount of work and a lot of energy to function? What do you think?
CES 2023 :Learn the latest information from the greatest technology event of the year
Although the CES doesn’t start until tomorrow, we’re back in Vegas for the event, and several exhibitors have already shown their new items at numerous press conferences and media events. In addition to more news from TV manufacturers, gaming laptop manufacturers, smart home firms, and other companies, we are starting to see some of the early automotive news that typically headlines CES today. Here is a summary of the top news from Day 1 of CES 2023 in case you haven’t caught up yet.
Since last night
But first, even though we covered the most of yesterday’s launches in a different video, more things were announced last night after we had finished filming that. For instance, Withings demonstrated the $500 pee-scanning U-Scan toilet computer.
It’s a 90mm block that you install inside your toilet bowl as a deodorizer and employs a microfluidic device that functions like a litmus test to identify the components in your pee. Although Withings is developing a consumer-focused version that will evaluate your nutrition and hydration levels and forecast your ovulation and period cycles, you will need to decide the precise tests you wish to run in your module. Prior to launching in the US, it is still awaiting regulatory approval from the European Union.
We also witnessed the Fufuly pulsing cushion by Yukai Engineering, which was less… gross news. Although a vibrating cushion may sound like something out of an anime, the concept is that cuddling something that might simulate real-life pulsation may have calming effects. Another thing that could calm anxiety? watching a video of adorable birds! Additionally, Bird Buddy unveiled a brand-new intelligent feeder with a built-in camera so you can watch your feathered friends while they build nests. The most recent version, which is intended for hummingbirds, uses AI to recognize the different breeds that are in the area and, in conjunction with a motion sensor, determines when they are ready for a feast.
Speaking of nibbles, there was a ton of food-related technology news last night, like as the $1,000 stand mixer from GE Profile that has a digital scale and voice controls. We also observed OneThird’s freshness scanners, which determine the freshness of produce using near-infrared lasers and secret algorithms. Even the shelf life of an avocado can be determined instantly, preventing food waste!
We also witnessed the Wisear neural earbuds that let you control playback by clenching your jaw, the blood pressure monitor that hooks onto your finger from Valencell, and Loreal’s robotic lipstick applicator for people with limited hand or arm mobility. Smart speakers, smart pressure cookers, smart VR gloves, smart lights, and more were available.
Let’s move on to the recent news. Prior to the onslaught that is set to happen tomorrow, there was only a little trickle of auto news. Volkswagen debuted the ID.7 EV sedan, tempting us with only the name and a rough body form. BMW, meanwhile, revealed the I Vision Dee, or “Digital Emotional Experience,” to provide additional information about its futuristic I Vision concept vehicle development. It’s a simplified design with a heads-up display that spans the entire front windshield. Many of the Dee’s characteristics are anticipated to be incorporated into production vehicles starting in 2025, notably BMW’s new NEUE KLASSE (new class) EV platform. BMW’s Mixed Reality slider will also be available on the Dee to regulate how much digital stuff is shown on the display.
The premium 2023 TVs from Samsung were also not unveiled until the evening, with this year’s models emphasizing on MiniLED and 8K technologies. Additionally, it added more sizes to its selection and unveiled new soundbars with Dolby Atmos capability at all price points. While this was going on, competitor LG unveiled a 97-inch M3 TV that can wirelessly receive 4K 120Hz content, allowing you to deal with fewer connections in your living room and… more soundbars. Leave it to LG and Samsung to essentially duplicate each other’s actions.
Hisense, a competitor with comparatively smaller TVs, today announced its 85-inch UX Mini LED TV, which has more than 5,000 local dimming zones and a maximum brightness of 2,500 nits. Startup Displace, meanwhile, demonstrated a brand-new 55-inch wireless OLED TV that can be attached to any surface via vacuum suction, doing away entirely with the requirement for a wall mount or stand. You can even live without a power cord thanks to its four inbuilt batteries. Essentially, this is a fully functional, portable TV.
We also noticed more HP, MSI, and ASUS laptops. A laptop with glasses-free 3D, a sizable Zenbook Pro 16X with lots of space for thermal dissipation, and a Zenbook 14X with a ceramic build are all products of ASUS. Both of the latter Zenbooks include OLED displays. In the meantime, HP unveiled a new line of Dragonfly Pro laptops that are designed to simplify the purchasing process for customers by removing the majority of configuration options. The Windows version exclusively uses an AMD CPU and has a column of hotkeys on the right of the keyboard that provide shortcuts to camera settings, a control center, and 24/7 tech support, whilst the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook has an RGB keyboard and Android-like Material You theming capabilities. The last of these buttons can be programmed to open a particular program, file, or website.
The first of some audio news is now being presented to us, starting with JBL. The business presented its array of five soundbar models for 2023, all of which will support Dolby Atmos. New true wireless earbuds with a “smart” casing including a 1.45-inch touchscreen and controls for volume, playback, ANC, and EQ presets were also introduced. Nearly simultaneously, HP unveiled the Poly Voyager earphones, which are comparable to the JBL in terms of controls and have a touchscreen on the carrying case. However, the Voyager also features a Broadcast mode that enables you to connect the case to an older device with a headphone port (like while you’re on an airline) via the provided 3.5mm to USB-C connection, so you can view movies during a flight without having to bring along a second set of headphones.
Not only today but also the remainder of the week will see a ton more CES news. I was unable to tell you about Citizen’s latest wristwatch or Samsung’s new, more affordable Galaxy A14 smartphone. Keep checking back for updates on all CES 2023 news.
Police in San Francisco are requesting authorization to use lethal force using robots
The San Francisco Police Department is currently asking the city’s Board of Supervisors for approval to use robots to kill criminals who pose a sufficient threat to officers or the general public, according to law enforcement, and whose deaths would be preferable to using any other form of force. According to a story from Mission Local, the draft policy, which was created by the SFPD itself, also aims to “remove hundreds of assault rifles from its inventory of military-style weapons and for not including staff costs in the price of its weaponry.”
As Mission Local points out, there has already been a lot of internal and external criticism to this initiative. Supervisor Aaron Peskin initially opposed the use of force provisions, adding to the policy phrase that “Robots shall not be employed as a Use of Force against any human.” In a later draft, the SFPD deleted that language, which I was unaware they had the authority to do as a lifelong resident of San Francisco. That proposal was then unanimously accepted by the Rules Committee, which Peskin heads, and forwarded to the full Board of Supervisors for a vote on November 29. Peskin justified his selection by saying that “there could be circumstances in which the use of lethal force was the only choice.”
Twelve fully operational remote-controlled robots are currently kept on hand by the police department; these robots are mainly utilized for area inspections and bomb disposal. However, they can make fantastic bomb delivery platforms, as the Dallas PD demonstrated in 2016. Although police can use live rounds if necessary, as Oakland police recently revealed to that city’s public oversight board, bomb disposal squads frequently utilize blank shotgun shells to violently disable an explosive device’s internal workings.
As Workforce in China is at an all time low, Factories accelerated the creation of Robotics
Last year China installed almost as many robots and its factories as the rest of the world combined according to new data from the trade Group International Federation of Robotics.
Shipments of industrial robots to China rose 45% in 2021 from the year before. These Factory robots are programmable multi-purpose devices that can automate the production of electronics and cars and creative metal and plastic parts. So why is China Investing so heavily in them right now and what does it mean for the rest of the world?
Well there are a couple of short-term factors and then there’s a big long-term what is probably the best way to think about it so the short-term when it is there is something like this is happening cause of the pandemic in China which is particularly last year when we were all sat down ordering computer peripherals and other stuff that we used to get this through the work from home period. Had a huge demand on Chinese factories so they had to meed these demands somehow. So lots of them had starting putting in robots as well. The advantage of these robots that they will keep on working even if a virus breaks out again.
Japan being the world largest manufacturer of these industrial robots. There are a couple of very big companies that supply Chinese factories like Yaskawa is one of and Fanuc and Kawaski also makes these industrial robots. China is getting doing this themselves and even the Chinese government has made a great push into robotics.
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