Re: Humanoid Robots on the Mass Market

From: Franklin Wayne Poley (
Date: Mon May 22 2000 - 23:44:30 MDT

On Mon, 22 May 2000, Eugene Leitl wrote:

> Franklin Wayne Poley writes:
> > > Floor
> > > cleaners will mostl likely come first, will be just a box on wheels,
> > > and they will be considerably cheaper than a car.
> >
> > Given that Honda's P2 and P3 can walk and climb stairs, why not program
> > them to use a vacuum cleaner?
> 1) the price tag

I took the price tag off. Once these machines can reproduce themselves,
the market price should be peanuts. So the R&D cost can be almost
anything. How much would this planet pay for mechanical slaves which can
do all the jobs humans do now and reproduce themselves as well?

 2) if they can walk stairs (I'd like to see it.

So far I'm only going by the pictures. Maybe when we get this ed tv
program going I can shake hands with P3.

 Can I
> push them while they'll be doing it?

Probably not. But you can't push grandpa on the stairs either.

> path? Operate them while children/pets are present?),

Presently it wouldn't be wise. But what about after $100 b. or $100
t. R&D?

 it doesn't mean
> they can vacuum a room. No sir. Anyone who wants my office cleaned
> without turning it into a mess (it's all hidden order, I'm telling
> you), he's facing a quite superhuman task.

Yes it is. Refer to my earlier question to you re whether the object
recognition part of mapping/navigating is the bigger problem or the
movement to the site and movement on site. But again, I'm taking the price
tag off. As long as investors/buyers are convinced the R&D will succeed,
they could pay just about every cent they have.

> > I agree. Now what could be done with 100 billion $ or 100 trillion
> > $? These are the questions I am putting forward to the Vancouver
> Some of it can't be hurried, but some of it can. 100 gigabucks, now
> that would be serious money. (100 terabucks is meaningless, because
> the market is not enough to absorb it without being changed radically)

Isn't that the message of the "transhuman" era? It is the end of
civilization as we know it.

> However, I'd rather have it spent in nanotechnology and gerontology,
> and space industry, if it was mine to command.

The R&D I'm talking about has to be a sure thing. Nanotech and extending
life aren't sure things. So this is the mainstay of the ed tv show on far can we go with sure things? What will they cost?

> > television group which says it wants to do an ed tv documentary on
> > "machine psychology". I want the top experts in the world to answer and I
> > think they will.
> The phrase "machine psychology" is rather purple, considered that we
> even can't get the low-level motorics done properly.

I define it as the extent to which machine systems can simulate
psychological systems.

 So far, this
> falls under the cathegory "algorithmic artefacts", at best.

Which means?

> > > Japan has pioneered some remarkably audacious and unremarkably failing
> > > projects in the past.
> >
> > Hey...I remember the Alamo...or was it Pearl Harbour? Anyway, to use your
> > expression, below, So what?
> If you point towards an ambitious AI project in Nippon, I can point
> towards a series of very impressive failures. Meaning, the fact alone
> that Japan is doing a particular AI project is not sufficient to get
> me all wet and flushed. This doesn't mean that robotics is a dead
> horse, but this doesn't mean that particular project is going to go
> critical, either.
> > > Yes, so what.
> >
> > Oh I can think of all kinds of so whats. Like "robot robots" which is what
> I don't know what "robot robots" are. Please explain before you use an
> unfamiliar term.

Typo..."robot rights"

> > Pearson from BT expects to see happening in about a decade. Like the
> > transformation of society when it really is "The End of Work" (Rifkin's
> The end of work? I thought we worked more and later hours, at reduced
> wage. Humans are still a great deal more flexible, and cheaper than
> robots. Only in very few areas are robots going to outperform the
> price/performance on an illegal immigrant.

Good point. As long as human slaves are cheap there will be reduced
incentives for machine slaves.

> > title). And you know what? For those willing to use a little savvy (and I
> > don't mean just high tech people) I think the era of "The End of
> > Work" (total automation) has arrived. The choices are whether to go
> > "anthropomorphic" or "nonanthropmorphic" in planning totally automated new
> Well, let's have this discussion by the time a breakeven point between
> human and robotic vehicles on the road has arrived.

At this time we can go a long way by redesiging our environments to permit
automation. For example the Sky Train here has operated since 1986 without
any humans. If people want to use outmoded, costly, polluting and
dangerous technology I can't stop them.

 Meanwhile, there
> are much juicier topics to sink our fangs into. Let's deal with them,
> as they arise.
> > communities. NOW.

I think the prospect of having a village built at False Creek with maximum
automation is pretty juicy. I'll buy into it if it is as good as I think
it can be. And I don't think they'll have a problem selling the other
4,999 people!

  Machine Psychology: (file #10)

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