Ken Goldberg Quoted on Kuri and Home Robotics in Wired

05 Dec, 2017

Ken Goldberg Quoted on Kuri and Home Robotics in Wired

BCNM's Ken Goldberg was quoted in "The Genesis of Kuri, the friendly home robot," an article in Wired by Matt Simon. Simon covers the development of companionship starting with dogs and culminating with companion robots, such as Kuri, a companion with voice and facial recognition.

The article tries to address, "Do humans need or even want this kind of thing? And are we prepared to form a new kind of bond with what is essentially a new kind of being?"

In Ken Goldberg's own opinion, companion robots will not be able to take the place of dogs as companions. In his own words, “I don't believe in companion robots, I'm sorry,” he said. “I don't think that that's actually what people want. If I'm lonely, the last thing I want is a robot to come in and somehow be my friend. That's even more depressing.”

From the article:

"Kuri sprang from the minds of roboticists Kaijen Hsiao and Sarah Osentoski, who didn’t actually start out to make a friendly robot. What they originally conceived of was a security robot that would patrol the home. Not to taser intruders, but to keep an eye out. The problem, the pair eventually realized, is that you're better off detecting someone while they’re still outside. “By the time someone gets in the home, well it's kind of too late, isn't it?” Hsiao says.

A robot with fewer responsibilities seemed a more logical starting point. So Hsiao and Osentoski began building a bot for companionship, instead of protection. But this approach introduced a slew of subtle problems, chief among them: How do you get this new technology to work in the home, while also winning the affection of its owners?"

Read the rest of the article and more from Wired here.