Anticipatory Anthropology Course at Ambergris College
Can this not be the ultimate result of research into robotics? Haptics (see Haptic perception , Haptic technology), you may know, is the feedback you get when a keyboard clicks or when you pick up a coin. Taiwan and Japan are making great advances in robotics, haptics, and intelligent algorithms that might make a robot sigh in response to the right stimulus – or make you sigh.
Lars and the Real Girl
The anthropology department of Ambergris College, in recognition of rapid advances in robotics and haptics, will be offering a new course: “Introduction to Anticipatory Anthropology.”
The field of anticipatory anthropology, while new, addresses future human behavior in society. The proposed course is in response to recent advances in Asia in the development of robots that appear human, are able to communicate phrases that approach the level of human interaction in the fashion of HAL in the film, 2001. Future androids and gyndroids enhanced by intelligent algorithms enabling response to human facial expressions, voiced emotions, and touch. While the research will take three to five years to reach a commercially viable level of sophistication, it is time to think about human-machine interaction at a different level.
Many people in society exist in barren environments with little stimulation except for a domestic pet and television – they are, in effect, abandoned by the larger society by age or disability. While the benefit to the human condition of having a companion animal can’t be denied, the benefit from having a near-human companion that can share emotions and interests is obvious. We believe the use of surrogates are an unavoidable consequence of this alienation.
Certainly, there are many foreseeable complications that might develop. There are dangers of transference when a vulnerable person becomes dependent on a machine no matter how well the emulant performs its task. Sexuality is an obvious consideration as seen in the Gillespie’s recent 2007 film Lars and the Real Girl. It has been reported that relations with simulants is, if not common, at least not unknown. For further information contact Ambergris.edu