an awkward moment

Amazing how quickly we anthropomorphize things. From my own experience I know it’s possible to forge an imaginary connection with a simple blinking LED, if the timing is right, but downright impossible not to anthropomorphize if it has a human face on it, no matter how many wires are sticking out of the back.

What I really enjoy about this video is the different perspectives that the two people in it bring to the robotic creation named Bina48. It’s the kind of disparate dynamic that often comes up when a creator of specific technology and the general public meet. It exists wether the tech in question is a new word processor or the latest humanoid robot, and is not much different from the dynamic between a parent and a stranger looking at the actions of a child.

The public/user go into the situation with certain expectations based on appearance and are usually disappointed as selective shortcomings of the technology bring to the forefront the fact that there are always limitations and our expectations always soar just beyond what is currently possible. On the other hand the tech creator/parent are acutely aware of all the limitations, they don’t push these boundaries, instead they are focused on the technological feat they just accomplished and marvel at the possibilities of whatever specific problem they just overcame. within these boundaries the technologist is able to tease out amazing things out of their creation, this is what they are so proud of when they are presenting something.

Unfortunately it’s really hard for these perspectives to meet. Of course it doesn’t help, when the tech in question responds to an inquiry on friendship, with a rant on world domination. awkward.