Robotic pets may be bad medicine for melancholy
November 30th, 2006

Sherry Turkle , the Director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self finds human-machine love unsettling.

“Turkle outlined her concerns about the implications of increasingly personal interactions between robots and humans during a Nov. 20 lecture, speaking earnestly and openly about her fears, she acknowledged that some parts of her research “gave me the chills” on a very personal level and that she is “struggling to find an open voice.”

… Increasingly sophisticated robots–with big eyes that follow our faces or which respond to human voice and touch–trigger “Darwinian” responses in us; we are “wired” to react to objects that track our movement, Turkle said.

“This is not about building AI with a lot of smarts,” she said. The impact is “not on what it has but how it makes people feel.”

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