Honda has spent time and effort to build a set of robot concepts “engineered to advance mobility and make people’s lives better,” one of which shows empathy and compassion to humans through “facial expressions.” In other words, Honda has spent time and effort to build artificial humans (again).
Honda, a company that will surely help accelerate the inevitable onset of the robot uprising, announced Thursday that its four new robots will be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. One is an autonomous off-road concept, another is a little robot box that follows a person around and carries their stuff, the third is a robot chair “for casual use” indoors and out, and the robot that takes the weird trophy “shows compassion to humans with a variety of facial expressions” and the help of artificial intelligence.
Shockingly enough, a quick Google search shows that, in fact, another species already living on this earth is capable of showing compassion to humans “with a variety of facial expressions”: other humans. It seems as if these “humans” Google speaks of can also push wheelchairs around, drive off-road vehicles for those who may not be able to do it themselves, and carry things.
Who knew humans could carry things for themselves? What a terrible burden this innocent Google search has put on me. I guess this means I’ll have to start carrying my own bags from now on.
Anyway, here’s the short video Honda made about its new robots. It ranges from semi-creepy to ultra-creepy, depending on your tolerance for watching machines that will one day rule over you:
Before this new, creepy quartet came around, Honda’s main robot was Asimo. Asimo, which has the voice of a small child and likes to show everyone the basic human actions it can imitate, was likely equally as creepy as these four will be. Asimo was built to be a nice robot that helps people who need assistance in daily activities, as these four are supposed to be.
But they’re all built to fill a role that actual humans can do themselves, with no real benefits to the functionality of those roles other than perhaps costing less money—it’s understandable to put autonomous robots into production lines because they’re faster, but lightbulb-shaped robots showing programmed-in emotions on some creepy Walmart-looking smiley face isn’t exactly an upgrade from human care.
Of course, the robot apocalypse was always meant to start when we as humans got too fond of these machines we attempt to saturate the world with. Honda’s autonomous Jack in the Box that’ll share your emotions is just the beginning.
It was nice knowing you all, and be assured that the blogs will carry you through your unexpected and terrifying demise at the hands of our robot overlords.