Greetings! My name is Francisco but please call me Paco. In my writing class we studied different types of ways to write an essay in order to get your idea across. Our final paper had to be in an argument type essay, and it fit right into the topic I wanted to share with all of you today. My personal interest drove this essay I am really into creating code and building things. This essay is based on artificial intelligence, and a very specific robot.
My essay introduces different views on artificial intelligence. I also pose questions in order to start informing you about what AI might hold for us when they start becoming available. With that said let’s begin with our society… I hope you enjoy reading my essay half as much as I enjoyed writing it for you, because I had ball!
Our society is constantly changing, and welcoming new ideas into it that will make our day to day life’s more productive. One company however, is about to introduce something into society that will change many things and push limits to the max. The companies name is Aldebaran Robotics the company was founded by Bruno Maisonnier and it is located in Paris, France (NAO Next Gen), and they have created the first humanoid robot who will be implemented with artificial intelligence! Personally I think it’s absurd that we are actually talking about this in our life time, but AI is here and it is not going anywhere. Think about this for a second, is it a good thing that we have invented artificial intelligence? What exactly can we gain with AI that we can’t do ourselves with the technology we have today? In order to further understand this topic I decided to interview a hand full of people in order to get their opinion on this topic that is rarely talked about. One of my interviewees named Thu, mentioned that AI would be a positive movement for our society (Nuyen). At the same time, all of the other interviewees disagreed with the idea of AI and even fear it. So what exactly are we going to use robots with artificial intelligence for?
In the article “Android Alert” by Paul Marks, he goes over just how venerable all of these robots are. In his article he mentioned that he visited the “Human Robot Interaction” conference in Germany (Marks, Paul) just to find out how safe these robots are. After looking at their software he found out that no robot in the conference had a strong security software to protect them. Making the robots venerable to hackers (Marks, Paul). He also mentioned that it was rather easy for someone to hack into a robot with no trouble, and that these companies making humanoids should implement a stronger more complicated security system in the robot if they are going to be interacting with humans. Personally I think installing a complicated security software could be both a good thing and a bad thing. If we install a strong security software it will prevent the hackers overriding the robot. At the same time this could be a really bad idea since you will practically make the humanoid unstoppable from any manual control. Jennifer, one of my interviewees, mentioned her family’s safety when I asked her if she would purchase one of these robots when they become available. Her answer was no, she would not buy one due to the lack of trust she has with robots (Walters). If companies like Aldebaran don’t install these light security features you will end up with a walking nightmare coming out of science fiction (Anderson)
Will having a robot like the one Aldebaran made will be a positive or negative impact on our society? Thu mentioned she does not feel safe with the idea that a robot will in your household taking care of her children (Nuyen). This is the goal that Bruno Maisonnier shared in a show called “LeWeb” (NAO Next Gen). Later, Thu mentioned job security and how people with easy jobs will most likely be replaced with AI robots (Nuyen). With people not having jobs they will look at robots as a potential replacement, but will society react before it gets to that point? As of today there is already a lot of automation that takes place in several different jobs, take for example the car manufacturing industry which left many without jobs. Another way to look at it is with robots being present in our jobs the robot can do the hard things that could possibly cause an injury to a human. While robots may seem like bad news they can also help people become better at what they do.
One school in France named “Autists sans Frontiere” helps children with autism develop their communication skills, and they get help from the robot created by Aldebaran named NAO (Who is NAO?) in the classroom taking the role of the teacher. The children felt more comfortable learning and expressing their feelings with NAO around them instead of a human teacher. The children even showed strong connections towards the robot, and also provides a new way of entertainment for the children rather than making them look at screens all day. NAO has been widely accepted in many places after his teaching story was posted on Aldebarans website. NAO provides a new source of entertainment for all ages. At the Australian University of New South Wales (UNSW) NAO was given the opportunity to play soccer in the 2015 Robo Cup! He was also featured in various dance performances. (Who is NAO?).
What about if robots are just another evolution we as a whole will have to get used to living with just like we did with phones? What did we gain from phones? What did we lose? Was it really needed to make a smartphone? Personally I think we should get one thing right before move on to another. I am referring to technology as a whole because we have smartphones that can’t do basic tasks anymore not to mention how they crash all the time like computers do. The sad part about this is that instead of fixing the problem companies decide to just release a whole new update with its own bugs and glitches yet to be found. Will this also occur with robots? Before robots come into our society Tilburg University raises a question that we should all be thinking about? What will we be able to do with NAO that we cannot do today (Anderson)? Aldebaran Robotics main goal is to make your life more productive and less stressful by having NAO as your assistant. NAO will be able to watch over your children and teach them their multiplication tables while you do things around the house (Nao: A Friendly and Interactive Robot). What about people who fear what robots and what they will bring? Most of the people I interviewed fear that this will be a walking computer that will be able to think, react, and respond just like a human does yet again have no consequences for what that robot does. Half of my interviewees I talked to referred to the movies the Terminator and/or I-Robot when I asked them what movie they recall that had robots. Movies alone are causing a negative impression about robots before they even come out. When I asked Henrick, what movie does he remembers that had robots in it. He made some interesting comments referring to the movie Wall-E (Toerien) a movie where robots help humans, but they help too much causing them to become overweight and making it possible for humans to have everything they need with just a simple stretch.
Now that you have an idea about how robots with artificial intelligence can help us as well as hurt us what do you think? Do you agree with some of the people I interviewed? While Aldebaran Robotics makes their last adjustments to NAO before it makes its way into the market we should all take into consideration that NAO might seem like a loving robot, but before it gets to walk in our neighborhood we should already be informed of the potential harms that humanoid robots could bring not just our society, but to humanity as a whole. Bruno Maisonnier stated that Aldebaran will be manufacturing NAO by the thousands and plans to put them everywhere possible in the U.S. Before this happens we must remember that we have a choice as to whether we accept this robot into our daily lives such as we did with the mobile phone, computer, and every technology along the way that we have taken in and made it part of our daily lives. With this I ask you when NAO is sold to the public will you purchase one in hopes of a new personal assistant? Or do you think our society as a whole will realize that we don’t need robots like NAO and decline robots from our day to day life?
Anderson, Michael and Susan Leigh Anderson. “Robot Be Good.” Scientific American, vol. 303, no. 4, Apr. 2017, pp. 72-77. EBSCOhost,
Marks, Paul. “Android Alert.” New Scientist, vol. 234, no. 3119, Apr. 2017, pp. 24-25. EBSCOhost,
“NAO Next Gen: Aldebaran Robotics Launches Humanoid Robot…” The Free Library. 2012 Worldwide Videotex 30 May. 2017
“Nao: A Friendly and Interactive Robot.” Aldebaran Robotics. Aldebaran Robotics/Soft Bank, n.d. Web. 08 April. 2017.
Pernea, Horia. NAO the Robot. Digital image. Flickr. N.p., 13 Jan. 2011. Web. 6 June 2017.
(Pernea) Cover picture link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roboticage/5382049375/in/album-72157625891355496/
Nuyen, Thu “Artificial Intelligence (NAO).” Personal interview. 22 Apr. 2017.
Toerien, Henrick “Artificial Intelligence (NAO).” Personal interview. 12 Apr. 2017.
“Who Is NAO?” SoftBank Robotics. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2017.
Walters, Jennifer “Artificial Inteligence (NAO).” Personal interview. 10 Apr. 2017.