Singularity blinks

So here they are, supposedly the most human-like robots ever created. What’s intriguing is these are in real-space — physical robots like Asimov imagined, vs. the fake-reality Hatsune Miku-type avatars that can be projected as holograms from hidden screens. This raises an obvious question: As we perfect high-definition video panels everywhere, why would we invest in robots that exist to touch? Isn’t it enough to see a perfect rendition of Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie on a digital panel, an AI version of a late Star Wars movie, pixels that float on screens simulating intelligence?

For all our technology, humans seem compelled to act as animals and touch and feel things. We need to interact in real space. This is why we fly on jets, travel to opposite shores to see people in reality, shake their hands, offer a hug to the good clients or sharp looks to partners who disappoint. This is why telecommuting, for all our fantastic communications technology, has never become a societal norm. The majority of communication is not only non-verbal, but based in physical presence. Unless three-dimensional panels can include some form of haptic feedback allowing us to “touch” the things in the room, we may end up with Asimov’s physical robots after all.

Ben Kunz is vice president of strategic planning at Mediassociates, an advertising media planning and buying agency, and co-founder of its digital trading desk eEffective.

Originally posted on Google+.

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