With the advancement of artificial intelligence and robotics, it’s kind of creepy how robots are becoming more human. Many likely still think robots are science fiction, but every day they’re becoming science fact. Today, personal assistants like Alexa and Siri are in the homes and pockets of millions. Many others have Roomba vacuums automatically cleaning their house, and in research labs, robots have become so much more. If you think it’s eerie now what robots are like, then it’s going to be a brave new world in the next twenty to thirty years. Ready to be majorly creeped out by science? Here are 25 Creepy Ways Robots Are Becoming More Human.
They Can Answer Our Questions
Other than having Alexa, Google Home, or Siri answer all our questions, a super-intelligent robot at Google has started answering more complex philosophical questions, like what is the meaning of life? Another robot named Sophia answered a plethora of questions when she had a 15-minute conversation with a student in front of an audience of 3,000 people.
They Can Become Citizens
Speaking of Sophia, she has officially been granted citizenship in the country of Saudi Arabia. She’s the first non-human citizen.
They Create Art
A robot called e-David at the University of Konstanz is merely a red arm with five paintbrushes and 24 colors and can create its own paintings without the help of a programmer. There’s even been a robot art contest with 25 robots competing with each other.
They Are Altruistic
A study completed by scientists at a Swiss laboratory had wheeled robots programmed to search for discs and push them into designated areas. Successful robots would be kept, while the failures would be discarded. These robots were also given a choice to share their points for getting the discs, thus to help others survive, or to hoard. They found that the robots, on average, chose to share their points and keep the other robots alive.
They Can Show Empathy
At CES, the Computer Electronics Show, a robot named Forpheus plays a game of table tennis, but can also analyze its opponent’s body language to determine if they are experienced or not. If Forpheus realizes his opponent isn’t very good, he provides encouragement and advice.
They Can Use the Scientific Method
At Colombia University, a robot named “Adam” has been designed to do scientific processes on its own, using data, forming a hypothesis, and running experiments without any human input. After running over a thousand experiments for a certain hypothesis, it made its own first scientific discovery.
They Can Run and Leap
The company Boston Dynamics has created a humanoid robot that can run outside without help of cables or someone controlling it. It’s called Atlas. In other tests, they demonstrated it can make successful leaps over and on top of tall blocks. While it ran outside, it stopped at a log and leaped over it.
They Can Dance
While listening to live music, many different robots, whether humanoid or otherwise, have been programmed and designed to dance to music. There’s a video on YouTube of the Nao Robot dancing to Gangnam Style and another robot that dances to J-Pop. Robots also achieved the Guinness Book of World Records for largest robot dance.
They Show Emotions
At this stage, robots don’t feel emotions, but they can show them. A Japanese robot named Pepper has been designed to read human emotion and respond to it. In the future, robots may feel emotions and have a better understanding of them.
They Have Skin
Researchers at UCLA and the University of Washington have developed an artificial and stretchy skin that can allow robots to feel sensations similar to humans. On top of that, the artificial skin is self-repairing.
They Have Human Mouths
Researchers at Kagawa University developed a robot-human mouth that simulates how a human might speak with the same organs and air pressure. Many were very creeped out by the sight of it, but the researchers insist it’s to help professionals find ways to help those with speech impairment.
They Can Eat
In Bristol, UK, a team of scientists created a robot that can scavenge for food, fill its stomach full of it, and eject it out. They built it to imitate the life of Salps, a squishy marine organism. Its artificial gut is full of microbes that break down the food before it gets rid of the waste. Scientists are hopeful these robots can scour the oceans for waste and pollution and clean it up.
They're Hands Are More Similar
Many robots today have claws for hands, but NASA is currently working on a robot called Valkyrie that can have more finely tuned hands to literally give us, well, a hand. They want robots to be able to do the same kinds of handyman tasks that humans can, like using a screwdriver.
They Can Be News Anchors
Introduced in Japan as the first newscaster called Kodomoroid, this very life-like android has been programmed to read the news and even has its own sense of humor. She first delivered news of an earthquake and an FBI raid.
They Can Be Friends
While it may only be a head and shoulders, BINA48 looks surprisingly life-like and human. Designed by Hanson Robotics, they modeled all of its programmings, memories, and personality after the very real Bina Rothblatt. They designed her to be a friend.
They Can Be Tourist Guides
Toshiba created a life-like robot that helps with tourism in Japan. Called Junko Chihira, it can speak in three languages and has speech recognition capabilities to answer tourists questions.
They Are Almost Self-Aware
While we have a ways to go in creating a conscious, self-aware robot. One robot named Nico is closer than ever. Developed at Yale University, Nico has been designed to recognize objects in a mirror, much like humans do when driving a car and looking at a rear-view mirror. However, scientists also want it to recognize itself, which could be a stepping stone to robot self-awareness.
They Go to War
The military has been using robotics in warfare for years now. Whether they need them to locate bombs, give them another vantage point, or be a drone flying over enemy territory, robots and war are almost commonplace at this point. The next step, many believe, is robots making decisions in war for themselves. Autonomous tanks, sentry guns, and even perhaps the humanoid robot Atlas are all in the near future with artificial intelligence making decisions and running the show.
They Can Read
Recently in 2018, the Chinese retail giant Alibaba developed an artificial intelligence algorithm which, for the first time, read and comprehended language better than humans. They tested the algorithm with the Standford Question Answering Dataset. This new finding could be the death knell for thousands of jobs, including customer service.
They Can Defy Their Programming
A team in Massachusetts thinks robots should be able to defy human orders especially if a human’s orders are morally problematic. Of course, those who have seen 2001: A Space Odyssey know what happens when robots can say no.
They Can Drive Cars
Autonomous cars are closer than ever to becoming an actuality. Google, Tesla, and many other car makers have been researching the technology and recently Nissan and NASA have jumped into the foray, using the same technology as the Mars Rover to make it drive by itself.
They Can Cook
London-based company Moley Robotics recently unveiled their robot that can cook gourmet meals. Attached to the wall as two robotic arms and hands hovering above a kitchen, the robot scans a human’s actions and then performs the same actions itself. It was trained by chef Tim Anderson, and the company hopes to start introducing it into homes. Not only can it make food, but it can also clean up the dishes afterward. While at work, you would be able to order a certain meal from an app on your phone so you could eat it when you get home.
They Can Play Music
The robot Shimon can create and play its own music. Using a rich database of 5,000 complete songs, plus two million motifs, riffs, and short passages of music, it can compose original songs. To know what notes it should be playing, it uses a camera on its head with computer programming to detect them.
They Can Have Sex
As we speak, robotic companies are developing androids that look like humans and can have sex with humans. The Telegraph reported tons of money is being thrown into the technology without thinking about the moral ramifications. Dr. Trudy Barber, a pioneer on the subject, claims having these kinds of artificially intelligent robots will be normal in twenty-five years.
They Can Be Nurses
Right now, some hospitals have been utilizing a robot called “Tug.” Tug doesn’t exactly inject needles or do super difficult health care tasks, but it does deliver medicine and food to patients. There are signs this is only the beginning, with hopes that artificial intelligence will be able to help with the nursing shortage and do more complex tasks.