Documenting the Coming Singularity

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

One of my best friends is a robot - How to make (robot) friends and influence people

Technology Review - May 5, 2009

The world's first robot with its own Facebook page is part of an ambitious experiment to build long-term meaningful relationships with humans

We all love robots, right? And yet that special relationship never seems to materialise. However intensely they begin, our relationships with robots gradually wane as the realisation dawns that it wasn't love that brought us together, but mere infatuation. The relationship quickly and inevitably breaks down, like the morning after a Las Vegas wedding. (Japanese researchers have even measured the decline in interaction levels as humans lose interest in robot toys.)

But building a meaningful relationship with a robot may soon get easier if Nikolaos Mavridis and pals from the Interactive Robots and Media Lab at the United Arab Emirates University have anything to do with it. They say the key to building a longer, meaningful relationship with a robot is to become embedded in the same network of shared friends and together build a pool of shared memories that you can both refer to. Just like a real friend.

So the team has created the world's first robot that does both these things--it has its own Facebook page and it can use the information it gathers from this social network in conversations with "friends".

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