I had a chance to talk to David Hanson of Hanson Robotics in-depth at the Singularity Summit in San Francisco on August 14. He holds the view that humans want robots to look, feel and sound human – after all, asking humans to think otherwise would be asking humans to re-wire the way they think.

The conversation that unfortunately didn’t make it into the video was around robot(ic) behavior – robots versus humans, more specifically robots versus actors. We were talking about some of the best actors who actually ARE the character, they don’t go INTO character. The two that immediately came to my mind are both women: Meryl Streep and Glenn Close. Both of them draw you into their character and make you believe nothing else exists BUT the CHARACTER.

I could imagine a world where you could buy a product that could be programmed to a particular character. I’d love an ‘open source’ robot like the PR2s that Willow Garage are building, and the ability to separately buy a program that enables the robot to go into a specific personality, just like I buy a DVD movie today. When I’m in a different ‘personality mood,’ I simply change it. What about other human aspects? Listen to David thinks about these topics.

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