What Stupid Is To Us

This is an excellent article on robots that help people. Check out these two quotes:

It is vital that a robot of this sort is not perceived as hostile, but as having its owner’s best interests at heart.

One way to do this is to give robots a defining human trait—the ability to make mistakes. Maha Salem, a researcher under Dr Dautenhahn, programmed a humanoid Asimo robot, made by Honda, to make occasional harmless mistakes such as pointing to one drawer while talking about another. When it comes to household robots, test subjects prefer those that err over infallible ones, Dr Salem says.

And this:

To interact smoothly with people, robots will also need “social intelligence”. It turns out, for example, that people are more trusting of robots that use metaphors rather than abstract language, says Bilge Mutlu, the head of the robotics laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has found that robots are more persuasive when they refer to the opinions of humans and limit pauses to about a third of a second to avoid appearing confused. Robots’ gazes must also be carefully programmed lest a stare make someone uncomfortable. Timing eye contact for “intimacy regulation” is tricky, Dr Mutlu says, in part because gazes are also used in dialogue to seize and yield the floor.

Two very different kinds of intelligence, from the perspective of a human.

A person who never makes mistakes about where things are might be considered smart in our society, one that does somewhat normal. On the other hand, a person with sloppy non-verbal communication is ruthlessly discriminated against and is probably constantly sparking unintended conflict, making a happy life impossible. Yet from a robot’s perspective the first is laughably trivial and the second unimaginably complex.

Which task do you think human intelligence evolved to perform? Maybe that’s why math class is so hard.

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