The rise of robots and the decline of humanity.`In the new millennium, we will become our machines," says Rodney Brooks, director of MITs Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Brooks noted that work is well advanced on the creation of a new species of sentient sentient /sen·ti·ent/ (sen´she-ent) able to feel; sensitive.
1. Having sense perception; conscious.
2. Experiencing sensation or feeling. machines known as "Robo Sapiens sa·pi·ens
Of, relating to, or characteristic of Homo sapiens.
[Latin sapi ."
"We are talking about the emotional coupling between the robot and the human," Brooks says. "It's inevitable." Brooks foresees that these thinking, autonomous robots -- with their enhanced computational skills and physical strength -- will find ready use both in the business world and on the battlefield.
Autonomous robots are not just inevitable: they are imminent. In May 2001, ActiveMedia Research reported that "a multifunctional android An open platform for cellphones from the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). Based on Linux, Android includes a library of Java classes for building mobile applications.
Android and GPhone capable of almost substituting for a general-purpose waiter is likely five to 10 years away" while "personal robots will be commonplace in the nation within 10 years." ActiveMedia foresees a 3,500 percent growth in the production of robots and a 2,500 percent increase in revenues transforming robotics into a $17 billion industry by 2005.
Honda has invented Asimo, a child-sized robot that can walk, climb stairs, turn rights off and on and perform small household tasks (see photo on page 37). Interactive Week notes that Honda's mini-robot "is being outfitted with programs and artificial sensors that will make it autonomous."
Children in Japan and the US are growing up playing with robotic pets -- Sony's robot puppy Aibo, Toy Quest's robot dog Teckno and Hasbro's bizarrely-named robot doll, "My Real Baby."
At the last Robodex expo in Japan, Sony introduced its astounding a·stound
tr.v. a·stound·ed, a·stound·ing, a·stounds
To astonish and bewilder. See Synonyms at surprise.
[From Middle English astoned, past participle of astonen, "Dream Robots," which dazzled spectators by jumping, dancing and kicking balls.
In laboratories around the world, engineers who might once have used their talents to fashion human prosthetics are now designing body parts for robots -- feet, knee-joints, prehensile prehensile /pre·hen·sile/ (-hen´sil) adapted for grasping or seizing.
Adapted for seizing, grasping, or holding, especially by wrapping around an object. hands, supersensitive ears and eyes and "haptic haptic /hap·tic/ (hap´tik) tactile.
Of or relating to the sense of touch; tactile.
tactile. " sensors that approximate the sense of touch.
The MIT MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab's robot, Kismet kismet
alludes to the part of life assigned one by his destiny. [Moslem Trad.: EB (1963), 13: 418; Pop. Culture: Misc.]
See : Fate , has been trained to recognize and respond to human emotions. Kismet can communicate its mood through facial expressions ranging from happiness to anger. Interactive Week reports that the next goal is to teach Kismet "that actions have consequences, just like a child learns how to behave through interaction with other children and adults."
In the words of Bob Metcalfe, founder of 3Com and inventor of Ethernet: "Robots are becoming more human and humans are becoming more robotic."