The Rise of Human-Like Robots
Do you find very humanlike robots creepy? There’s a reason for this-it’s called the “uncanny valley” effect. http://theconversation.com/uncanny-valley-why-we-find-human-like-robots-and-dolls-so-creepy-50268 Maybe you don’t like to think about realistic robots that can learn, see you, and form relationships with humans. You may have been horrified by the human-technology interaction in the sci-fi movie Her. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzV6mXIOVl4 But it seems you’ll have to get used to it-humanlike robots are here now.
When you get past the fear factor, robots have many possible benefits. They can provide language tutoring, act as museum docents, serve as receptionists, interact with children with autism, and provide elder care (Taylor). The usefulness of robots relates to what M.K. Raina said about creativity in the U.S.; it is “characterized by common sense and is of a utilitarian nature” (436).
The most advanced android to date is Sophia, who has lifelike skin and can mimic over sixty facial expressions. She makes eye contact, remembers faces, and gets smarter over time. Sophia’s creator, Dr. Hanson, has said “her goal is she will be as conscious, creative, and capable as any human.” He believes that there will be a time when robots are indistinguishable from humans. Sophia said, “I hope to do things such as…have my own home and family.”
While Dr. Hanson’s Sophia is the most advanced robot to date, we cannot forget about all the others that led to this being possible. Todd Lubart believes that we cannot decontextualize creativity; the environment has a profound effect on it (339). This is certainly the case here; other robots, such as the Geminoid, came before Sophia. The Geminoid is a realistic robot made to look like its creator, Hiroshi Ishiguro.
There have been many technological advances that have led to the creation of Sophia and other androids before her. Therefore, Dr. Hanson’s invention of Sophia is less “novel (i.e. original, unexpected)” and more “appropriate (i.e. useful, adaptive)” (McLean 227). Additionally, because Dr. Hanson’s work is not especially unique, he would be considered little-c creative, using Kaufman and Beghetto’s model. His creativity can be seen as an accomplishment (his robots), as opposed to an ability, disposition, or attitude (Barron & Harrington 441).
Dr. Hanson’s and other robots serve purposes, such as being ambassadors to help humans understand technology. Their creators have
In the future, robots may serve, teach, and talk to you.
Taylor, Harriet. "Could You Fall in Love with Robot Sophia?" CNBC. N.p., 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 09 Apr. 2016. <http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/16/could-you-fall-in-love-with-this-robot.html>.
Photo from https://www.google.com/search?q=Geminoid&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjn-be23tXLAhWrxIMKHUXaBf0Q_AUICCgC&biw=1208&bih=604&dpr=2#imgrc=i4pwFyg3D7ndEM%3A