A company called Willow Garage has just developed one of the most advanced robots ever. Not the sort of robots we have around now that can vacuum. The kind that will be our personal robot servants. They can already bring you a beer from the fridge and open it for you. And with their open source operating system, they will be able to learn and become smarter. That is the whole goal.
So revolutionary is the Personal Robot 2 (PR2) that they're loaning 11 of them out to research institutes around the world in the hopes that, by working together, giant leaps will be made in integrating robots into our everyday lives. Before sending the robots off to change the face of the Earth, they held a "graduation ceremony." It was pretty legitimate, with the robots rolling out to "Pomp and Circumstance." Everything was in line with the sort of respect you show the machines that will one day be running our households... right up until Willow Garage forced the robots to perform a coordinated flag dance. To "Mr. Roboto."
Look assholes, do not mess this up for humanity. You said yourselves, it is going to become smarter. That is the whole goal. Which means one day they are going to understand just how mortifying it is to be on a flag team. Their first memory is going to be you guys inventing robot racism.
The PR2, immediately after a Willow Garage employee gave him the ol' "Gimme five, TOO SLOW!"
They will rise up, start the robot revolution, we will have to get off our butts to get beer again, and it will be all your fault.
Well, you and Styx.
2The Robot Priest
The i-Fairy is a four-foot-tall Japanese robot with pigtails and "colorful, flashing eyes." It's typically used as a museum guide, because elderly Japanese people are apparently not as easily terrified as the ones here in America. However, one i-Fairy was recently given a flower headpiece and reprogrammed to be a robot priest so that it could preside over a Japanese wedding.
Happy couple Tomohiro Shibata and Satoko Inoue were married in what passes for a traditional ceremony in Japan after the bride suggested the idea to her husband since they both work in robotics.
Kokoro Ltd., the company that produces the i-Fairy, said it was happy that their robot had been used to help weddings "cross the digital divide," willfully ignoring the fact that this is not something anyone was asking for help getting across. Like the couple at the center of the ceremony, they know better than anyone what this was really about: Rubbing a robots face in the one thing it will never do better than us.
While this might strike you as run of the mill Japanese weirdness, from the i-Fairy's perspective it probably seemed more like a cruel joke. As anyone working in robotics would know, there is but one aptitude test that robots will never beat us in: The capacity to love.
Tends to be a bit of a sore subject, too.