Carla Diana, panelist in BCNM’s upcoming Robots and New Media Symposium on April 4, published “The Dream of Intelligent Robot Friends” in the Atlantic yesterday. The article reviews the new internet-enabled and commercially available Karotz, discussing in particular the pitfalls in developing an emotional connection with current robots on the market. Diana is not jaded by this experience, however:
“The tools for meaningful digital-physical integration are finally accessible, but it’s still a messy challenge to get them all to work together in a meaningful way. Dreaming about robots is a bit like dreaming about finding strangers who will understand you completely upon first meeting. With the right predisposition, the appropriate context for a social exchange, and enough key info to grab onto, you and a stranger can hit it off right away, but without those things, the experience can be downright awful. Since we’ve got a lot more to understand when it comes to programming engagement and understanding, the robot of my dreams is unlikely to be commercially available any time soon, but with the right tools and data we can come pretty close.”
Carla Diana is a designer, author and educator who enjoys living as close to the near future as possible. In her studio she works on future-specting projects mixing robotics and sensor technologies with everyday life to create smart objects that can charm and surprise. She is a Fellow at the innovation design firm Smart Design where she oversees the Smart Interaction Lab. Carla has taught and lectured internationally, including a year as visiting faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she was the creative director for the iconic humanoid robot, Simon. Her recent article, â€œTalking, Walking Objects, appeared on the cover of the New York Times Sunday Review this January, and is a good representation of her view of our robotic future. She has just completed a children’s book for Maker Media about the future of 3D printing and design.
Join us on April 4 for further exploration of the current ethical, legal, and philosophical implications of robots in our world at the Robots and New Media Symposium.