Robot Bones

Inside Talking ElmoInside Talking ElmoThere’s been a number of stories lately on how scary robots look on the inside.  Reporters keep pointing out how if you take the skin off a robot it doesn’t look so cute and reassuring any more, so those feelings of tenderness and empathy must be fake.  See NPR’s Morning Edition this morning about the seal Paro.  This strikes me as odd.  If we took the flesh off a human, we wouldn’t call the bones cute and cuddly.  We’d be kinda freaked out.  I’ll bet you were just freaked out by me mentioning it.  Why should it be any different for anything else we feel is alive?  Doesn’t that make robots more alive, not less alive?


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