Friday, June 15, 2018

Scientists teach conscious robot to hug (video)

Sarah Cahlan (
"HuggieBot," a life-sized humanoid robot, has been programmed to hug in many different ways, from friendly to romantic (Alexis Block/Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems).

Why are scientists teaching this bot to hug?
Human embraces bring big health benefits, but what about embraces from bots?
Hug me, you stupid fleshy water bags!
These days [the future overlords we call] robots can do just about everything [steal jobs, surveillance, trade stocks, infect computers, make automated marketing calls, drop teargas and bombs from their drone bodies...]
They also caffeinate us, assemble furniture, and sort recyclables.

F that. No way. That programmer is a wuss.
But can bots safely wrap us in their deadly metal arms and give us a squeeze that provides the same sense of comfort as a human hug?

Researchers are seeking to answer that question with help from “HuggieBot,” a humanoid robot programmed to offer hugs to humans.

Oh, that's nice. What else does it suck?
“We were interested in enabling robots to hug because of how common hugs are in daily life and because of their numerous health benefits.”

So said one of the researchers, Alexis Block, a Ph.D. student at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany.
Studies have shown that hugs can reduce stress and blood pressure and can even help stave off symptoms of the common cold. In one 2015 study, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University... More

Building artificial "consciousness"

How sentient robots could become a reality
In HBO's critically acclaimed sci-fi series Westworld, the robots or "hosts" fight to free themselves from human control when humans experiment with using them to upload human consciousness.

On the show the robots have attained a measure of consciousness, the central idea of which has moved from whether consciousness can be artificially manufactured to whether we can preserve "immortal" human consciousness by printing it onto AI.

In real life, we've only just begun to understand where human consciousness comes from…This is Mach at the Movies -- a show where we explore the plausibility of our favorite sci-fi shows. More

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