Tuesday, April 14, 2009

who wudda thot?

This was the neatest find of the weekend and I'm sure any of you who come by would be as charmed as I am (except Randal who enjoys his reputation as a grump). The robot can only move in a straight line and has a little flag with the name of its destination. Please check out her web site.

Robot/People art by Kacie Kinzer

"In New York, we are very occupied with getting from one place to another. I wondered: could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself? To answer these questions, I built robots."

* Tuesday update: They've taken the video away but it's still a cool site to link to since the map of how far it got is pretty amazing and the video is embedded there too.


  1. I am touched by how many people stopped to help!

    (That thought was quickly followed by the question, "But would they have done the same for a fellow human being?" Does that make me a cynic or a realist, or a ...?)

  2. I'd be much more inclined to help a robot than a human. ;-)

  3. Carrying a map in an unfamiliar city I recall folk asking me if they could help.
    I think some people just like to help; to send an anthropomorphized object or a human to its designated destination.

    But other communities like to receive confirmation you know where you’re going even if you don’t, such as is in Kiribati where if confronted it’s best to indicate boldly in sign language “ I’m going over there ! ” by pointing confidently anywhere when out exploring.
    Best wishes

  4. the crow - It was sweet but you're correct in your assessment too. I call myself an optimistic pessimist.

    randal - That's because the robot isn't likely to follow you home :-)

    lindsay - I found people in NY to be generally helpful but, yes, there are definitely different acceptable customs depending on where you are.

  5. our relationship with space? we have two choices, adjust or bump into something. it's pretty simple.
    until a robot feels pain, it'll never know it's real relationship to space.

  6. I just gave you an award. Come see me when you have time. BTW, I'm wanting that silk from your prior post, and am about ready to send you a check. I'll pay the utilities and see where I stand. But if you can, and haven't already sold it, save it for me, will you please. And honestly my wanting that large scarf to turn me into art had nothing to do with your being the recipient of this award.

  7. sera - That's a classic argument about AI. If we could make a sentient machine, why would it be interested in humanity?

    utah - I'll be right over to check out the award. How kind of you!

    As for the scarf, it's softer looking now it's been steamed. I'm still working on some little gold highlights and will send you another picture when it's done. You can decide then.

  8. I never thought I would think the following:"that robot is cute."

  9. it's only fair. some humans don't care for machinery. but i'm for anything that makes life easier.

  10. belette - It is. We seem to be hard-wired to go out of our way for the cute and helpless.

    sera - My toaster and I think the world of each other and I don't even want to talk about my relationship with my electric toothbrush :-)

  11. Neat story. I guess NYC is a friendlier town thn it gets credit for.

  12. sent this link on to my son the robo-geek. he'll love it. i did too. funny how affectionate we silly humans can be about the oddest things. ....and then there's our dark side.....

  13. ben - It's got an unnecessarily bad reputation but, then again, the experiment was done in Central Park on a sunny afternoon :-)

    gfid - It seems to me most of us are hard-wired for love and compassion.