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Robot Companions

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright September 2017

Introduction

One of the upcoming high profile uses for lifelike looking robots mixed with artificial intelligence is as affectionate companions. These should become even more popular than pets because they can "outpet" pets in the sense of being even more faithful and affectionate and with lots less mess, maintenance and tragedy.

These are first generation, they will be followed by even smarter companions -- virtual and physical -- who will become what I call cyber muses -- robots specifically designed to inspire humans to achieve want their humans want to accomplish. The cyber muses will come about after AI becomes both self-aware and self-designing and moves well beyond what human designers have accomplished.

Companions

Humans like companions. But companions are a mixed bag: they can provide lots of support and they can provide lots of problems and issues. One current solution to the issues problem is to get a pet instead of a human companion -- pet relations and maintenance are a lot simpler. An upcoming solution is a robot companion. These will be even simpler than pets to maintain and the relations will be much more customizable.

These companions will have quite a range in design and relations with their humans. On one end of the range they will be quite simple in design and mostly conversational -- they will be virtual companions. On another end they can become quite physical and quite physically helpful as well as conversational -- they will become the "robot butlers" that have been a science fiction dream ever since robots were thought of. Yet another end will be "super pets" -- these designs will imitate cats or dogs only do the companionship part much better than cats or dogs do.

One of the high-profile early companion applications for human-looking robots mixed with some simple AI is being a sex toy. This is simple enough to do that a few have been designed in the 2010's. This is one of the earliest applications because it is so simple to do and the instinctive thinking supporting it is so strong. These get around what can be big frustration issues when dealing with real-world human companions.

Surprise Use

Another early application for human-looking and talking robots is being a Booth Babe at trade show exhibitions. This is a surprise application for me, LoL! But after thinking about it, it makes sense. The human Babes don't need to know their product in depth, they are there simply to attract people with their appearance and personality and then explain product basics so exhibitors get interested in finding out more. It is a monotonous job which makes it quite eligible for automation. Bonus: the android Booth Babes will know their products a whole lot better than the 2010's human Babes do.

Conclusion

Robot companions are a highly anticipated mix of robotics and artificial intelligence. They have been anticipated since the early days of science fiction writing. How they will appear in real life will be much different and much more diverse than those early envisionings -- they will first appear as conversational companions and pets and only later as physically helpful butlers.

What they will do well is be affectionate companions that can stroke human comfort emotions reliably without much mess or risk. The more they can do this effectively, reliably and cheaply the more popular they will become.

 

 

--The End--

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