Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Traditional Robots vs. Human-Like Robots

Photo credit: ucsddigitaljournalism.blogspot.com
Do you remember the times when a person would mention a robot and the image in your head would resemble the picture to the left? Big, bulky, square body parts, with antennas and computer features on the exterior completely validated the "I am a robot" phrase. 


Photo credit: dunckelnews.com




Today, when we see pictures or movies of what robots of the future will look like, they typically have more human features (see example on right), but are still recognizable as machines. 



     

Photo credit: news.yahoo.com
Now, robots are becoming more human-like than ever. To the left is an image of what appears to be a woman, but in reality, it is a robot. In Japan, one company is experimenting with robots, designing them to look, move, and talk like a human.  Japanese robotics expert, Hiroshi Ishiguro says "Making androids is about exploring what it means to be human," he told reporters Tuesday, "examining the question of what is emotion, what is awareness, what is thinking." (Woman or Machine? New Robots Look Creepily Human

Imagine adding Virtual Agent technology to a humanoid robot to provide it with the proper knowledge to answer questions. For example, the humanoid robot could be a store clerk, knowledgeable about your favorite product, customer service, etc. Or imagine an employee Help Desk with a human-like robot to answer your questions about BYOD, corporate policies, and more. How would you react? 

What is your opinion on robots that look exactly like humans? If you have used a Virtual Agent for Customer Support, Care, or sales questions, do you prefer to know that it is an automated solution before interacting?