Re: Building Robigotchi

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Sun Oct 08 2000 - 11:14:01 MDT

"J. R. Molloy" wrote:
> At the time I began constructing the mechanical portions, I didn"t really have a
> good concept for the software. I continuously mulled ideas over in the back of
> my mind while I soldered and glued, trying to decide what a robigotchi actually
> does. Of course, the software had to be very simple if there was any hope of
> finishing it on time. I wound up ditching several neural network "learning"
> algorithms and settling for a simple subsumption architecture implementing
> "collision evasion", "phototaxis", and "forward attraction" behaviors.

I think you got it right on the mark. A robigotchi is nothing more than
a robot tamagotchi, and tamagotchis are fairly simple-minded. The
attraction comes from a combination of complexity from interaction of
simple programs, and - much more heavily - the "Eliza effect" of seeing
intelligence/personality in a system which is actually governed by rules
simple enough that an average human, once aware of said rules, can
manipulate it like any mechanical tool. One who wishes to see a
self-aware, self-actuating soul will see one; one who wishes to see a
construct will see one; the difference comes out when the two views
collide - and since the construct view demonstrably applies with no
conflicts, it wins. (Not sure under what conditions the soul view would
win as absolutely, but there are many situations where neither one would
be a clear winner.)

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