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5 Ways We're Designing Robots to Be Total Assholes

#2. They Taught a Robot Jealousy

Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

According to the director of the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Technology Laboratory in Taiwan, Dr. Hooman Samani (we're sure it's just a coincidence that his first name is a homophone of "human"), it's not enough that humans are capable of loving robots. Nope, Samani won't be satisfied until the robots are capable of loving us back, and he's proposed the field of Lovotics in order to make that happen. But love, as they soon found out, has a dark side.

Samani and his colleagues at the National University of Singapore are already well into the process of developing something like love in a robot by creating artificial versions of all the hormones that make us humans feel butterflies in our dangly places -- dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins -- and then pumping them into an adorable little love-bot. Well, perhaps "adorable" is a strong word -- it looks like either an oversized Nazi helmet or a sentient mop head, depending on whether it's wearing its wig at the time:

So, what's wrong with that? Well, as the end of the video above so eerily reveals, that attachment can quickly turn ugly when the human rejects the robot's affections or, God forbid, shows affection toward another human instead -- because that's when the robot switches gears straight into jealousy overdrive. Even diddling another digital device could be enough to transform the robot into the electronic (although thankfully appendage-free ... for now) equivalent of Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction.

Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty
The latest models can achieve jealousy readings of over 40 kilobunnies.

Yes, the future of robo-love doesn't look nearly bright enough to require the wearing of shades, when you consider the fact that the line between love and hate can be a bit on the blurry side. In fact ...

#1. They've Invented a Constantly Bickering Robot Couple

Jupiterimages, Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty

And so our journey through the world of faux robo-emotions culminates here, with Vincent and Emily: an actual, honest-to-goodness robotic couple. But hold your "awws" in check, because this robot couple bickers nonstop like that awful married couple you can't stand to be around at parties because it's clear they've been harboring nothing but cold hatred for each other for years.

Carolin Liebl/Nikolas Schmid-Pfahler via Vimeo
"I want to die first just so you'll have to clean it up when I lose control of my bowels."

The two robots interact with their surroundings by making sounds and motions in response to what they see and hear. And as long as what they see and hear are human visitors, all's well and good -- but as soon as the two are alone with each other, look out. Though their body language is extremely limited (seeing as how they don't have much of a body to speak of) and their language consists of the robotic equivalent of that teacher from Peanuts, there's no mistaking their hostility toward one another -- every single motion is a flying of the double birds; every single sound is a resounding "Fuck you, in case the double birds didn't make that clear or something."

Created by Nikolas Schmid-Pfahler and Carolin Liebl, the robots were designed to mimic the communication (and miscommunication) that takes place in an average human relationship. The robots send positive vibes by making up and down motions -- but even if the signals they're sending are positive, there's a good chance that their partner will interpret their intentions as negative, and the next thing you know, Emily is withholding robo-sex while Vincent mumbles about how he sacrificed his hopes and dreams of becoming a famous robo-artist to be with her.

So in a quest to re-create the unique way humans communicate with the ones we love, it would appear that the creators of Vincent and Emily have instead revealed a future career option that no one predicted we would even need: the robot divorce lawyer. And the future can't get much more assholish than that.

Carolin Liebl/Nikolas Schmid-Pfahler via Vimeo
"I remember there was a time that we loved each other."
*MEMORY ERASED*


Josh wants to be your BFF on Facebook and Twitter.

Related Reading: For a look at the robots most likely to rise up against us, watch this episode of Cracked TV. If you'd prefer to be deeply disturbed, check out this robot built to stalk hospital patients. Robots are closer than ever to becoming human: case in point.


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