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Bar Bot, “probably the most humanoid robot ever built”

Time for a robot of the day.  This is Bar Bot (to the right 🙂 of this picture taken by Ewald Elmecker and Flickred by Alexander Barth) at a video shoot:

Bar Bot

Bar Bot’s makers explain that this is probably the most humanoid robot ever built, because it is”driven by self interest”.  Bar Bot exists to drink beer, and the drinks are on you!  Bar Bot interacts with humans, but it’s objective is not to get to know you, rather it just wants your change.  As soon as enough money has been collected Bar Bot turns to the bar to order a beer.

Although the makers don’t stress this, I like the fact that when Bar Bot finishes its drink it just drops the empty can on the ground.  Another clear reference to human traits there I think!

Bar Bot takes the goal of roboticists – to create the ultimate humanoid robot as a helpful worker or companion – and twists this around to identify a very different and challenging outcome.

1 Comment

  1. This is just a copy of a comment that Karen left. It ended up against a different post, but makes more sense here…
    — From Karen
    Have you seen the ad with the ATM ripping itself out of the wall and following a bank customer around? It’s reminisient of the out-of-work car manufacturing robot ad, and sad in a similar way: that a robot designed for work – and that purpose is there at a structural level – is out of place where it can’t do that work, and the appeal is for humans to make that work possible. Maybe Bar Bot’s self interest means that its appeal to humans can take multiple forms?
    — Reply from me
    I suspect, as you do, that Bar Bot’s overt self interest adds a new dimension to its appeal for humans. It certainly neatly sidesteps the usual servant (or even slave) terminology that often creeps in when designers start to talk about their robots. However, although this robot doesn’t try to help you in any way, it also isn’t dangerous, even if you get between it and its beer can.
    Maybe it would be refreshing to have a robot around that isn’t any more friendly than it needs to be in order to separate you from your cash! In fact, thinking about it, that is similar to something that one of my fictional sources highlights: that a rude, insulting and infuriating robot can make a welcome change from interacting with those that are always polite.

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