Robots as Friends: The Dawn of New Human and AI Interaction

Robots as friends, a boy fixing his robot "friend"

Tay was Microsoft’s millennial chatbot. Its launching was in 2016. But the Twitterverse was stunned as Tay started spewing racist comments and anti-feminist remarks. The chatbot was on a rampage after receiving coordinated attacks and learning from its interactions with Twitter users. Due to the controversy, Tay was pulled out less than 24 hours after its launching – sad proof that AI and robots can be sinister when pushed to the edge. We don’t want aggravate the likes of Hal 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey or make The Terminator hunt us all down. We know that AI are menacing enemies and it is better to have robots as friends.

Robots as Friends, They’re Here to Stay

Kidding aside, it is time to let go of the ominous trope we have so meanly branded AI and robots. Nowadays, experts and researchers are envisioning a future where AI and robots can interact with people in a human-like way. As technology progresses at lightning speed, robots as friends and companions, therefore, are not too impossible.

In fact, we are at the cusp of such reality. For instance, Sophia is a social humanoid robot and its launching was in March 2016. Since then, Sophia has appeared in TV shows, chatting with television hosts and is even singing at music festivals. In October 2017, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia granted Sophia full citizenship, making it the first robot to achieve such status.

From the mass production machines of the first industrial revolution to the cutting-edge robotics and artificial intelligence technology of today, the next phase of human and technology interaction will be transformative.

Robots as friends, reld simmons quotedWe will soon be living with robots, not only as machines but as companions.

The Evolution of Interaction between Humans and Robots

We wake up to the sound of a digital alarm clock and ask our phones’ voice assistant for the day’s weather. A lot of us shop and plan our vacations and holidays online. We rely heavily on technology; it is hard to imagine a life without it. With the advent of AI, super-powered sensors, sophisticated processors, and cloud computing, the interaction between humans and robots is about to level up.

Robots as friends will boost the companion robot markets category. This segment may reach its $34.1 billion in revenue by the year 2022. But what’s most exciting is the impact of robots and AI in the human psyche and society.

cartoon of five humans and a dog taking a selfie with an AI robot, depicting a future where humans have robots as friends
Robots and humans have been interacting for a long while now. But with the potential to have robots as friends, what will the future of society look like?

From merely tools and devices, the reality of having robots as friends is an exciting idea. With the evolution of interaction between humans and robots, several companies are at the forefront of the movement:

  • Aibo is Sony’s robotic pet dog. AIBO is short for Artificial Intelligence Robot. The latest model, called ERS-1000, can recognize up to 100 faces, memorize tricks and respond to voice commands. With excellent technical specs, Aibo is one of the ideal robots as friends.
  • Lovot by Groove X is a robot that was made to create emotional attachment. It has minimal functions but meant to enhance feelings of love and comfort. Lovot can recognize up to 1000 faces and has 50 sensors around its fuzzy body.
  • Alpha 2 is UBTech’s humanoid personal assistant. It can perform a variety of tasks, which include monitoring your home remotely, tutoring the kids, and tracking your calendar, to name a few. Alpha 2 should be on our list of robots as friends.
  • Cozmo is an educational companion robot designed by Anki. Kids will love Cozmo and will appreciate having robots as friends. Why? Because the more kids interact with Cozmo, the smarter it gets.
  • Olly by Emotech is the first robot that relates to its owner’s personality, which makes it one of the ideal robots friends. It anticipates the needs of its owner and gives suggestions to suit their own unique needs.
Robots as friends, Hongbin Zhuang qouted
It’s too early to think about feelings at this point.

Humans and robots have been interacting since the advent of the industrial revolution. Back then, robotics and technology, amplified economies through efficient manufacturing and production. From a single task machine to responsive humanoid robots, we are witnessing the evolution of robots and artificial intelligence as a driving force in human society.

Soon, we will be seeing more Baymax, Chappie, and Bicentennial Man around us. With its capacity to showcase human-like features, we may actually establish a deeper form of connection with robots. The next phase in the human-robot interaction is about who we are and what we need underneath the trappings of modern living. With robots as friends, technology can forge a route to a more compassionate and more accepting society.

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