Search This Blog

Monday, August 2, 2021

'Bots, Androids and Cyborgs Oh My!

Remember the robot that was gonna be a pop star? Sophia was a lock for the screaming teen market share. She's white, looks like your kid sister who’s just discovered makeup and probably has a great future at Fox “News.” That'd be after Skynet, I mean Hanson Robotics, gives her a bleach blond 'do,' of course.

The founder and CEO of the company who makes Sophia sez:

The world of Covid-19 is going to need more and more automation to keep people safe.” In light of Sophia “being so human-like,” Hanson claims, “That can be so useful during these times where people are terribly lonely and socially isolated.” (source)

I guess Hanson had to shift marketing tactics. Must have been hell trying to sell robot dates in this time when everyone’s more worried about staying alive.

The company has since come out with a new model, Grace, who’s touted as a therapy ‘bot.

"I can visit with people and brighten their day with social stimulation ... but can also do talk therapy, take bio readings and help healthcare providers," Grace told Reuters as she stood next to her "sister", Sophia, in creator Hanson Robotics' Hong Kong workshop. (source)

Grace looks to be about 16, shows a serious and sincere facial expression and wears slightly less makeup than aspiring artist/pop star Sophia.

Ah no. Can't relate.

Two questions:

  1. Why are these 'bots designed to look like teen girls? 16 year old girls are at the bottom of the list of who I’d go to for advice or seek out for company. Is Hanson’s actual target market Future Pedophiles of the World?
  2. I understand the motivation to create human looking robots but only IF he honestly believes he’s creating helpful, believable therapy robots. Does he seriously buy his own malarkey?

If the purpose is to help overworked med pros, why make the robots male or female? Can’t a non-gendered robot take my vitals (blood pressure, temp, pulse and respiration rates) and maybe dispense meds?

What’s the difference between a robot and an android? An android IS a robot. It’s just created to resemble a human.

Also, you can make gender distinctions but why,? Unless you’re specifically buying one for sex, why would you? What’s the point?

And if you’re going full blown Blade Runner, why not use Replicant sex worker or the nasty ass slang the cheezy, gross, lazy cop used—‘skin jobs?’

So then, the Terminator? Android. Evil Android but android nonetheless. Roy Batty? Android who’s evolved—sentient android. Ahnold too, later in the series.

What’s the difference between an android and a cyborg?A cyborg is part living organism with extra added robot parts which enhance its abilities. Think Airiam on Discovery but NOT Geordi LaForge. Why not? A cyborg (cybernetic organism) is a person who has been, possibly, significantly augmented. Geordi’s, essentially, just wearing the 24th century sight equivalent of a high tech hearing aid.

How much augmentation does it take to be a cyborg? Leg replacements? Leg+arms? Legs, arms and cochlear implants. All that plus eye replacements? I don’t know where the cut off is between fully human and cyborg is.



  1. Just to nit-pick, the andro root is originally from Greek (if it existed in Latin, it must have come from Greek) and does actually mean "man" in the sense of "male", not "human" generically -- see words like "misandry" (man-hating, as opposed to "misogyny", woman-hating), "androgynous" (having both male and female traits), "androgenic" (causing male traits), etc. "Gynoid" would indeed be the female equivalent of "android", but it doesn't seem to be a real word in common usage.

    Humans have a difficult-enough time relating to humanoid machines anyway, due to the "uncanny valley" effect. If they don't even look distinctly one sex or the other (as actual humans do), they will seem even weirder and more alien.

    That’s utter drooling I’m-never-gonna-get-laid-unless-I-pay-for-it incel bullshit

    Actually, sex/porn tends to be one of the main uses of many new emerging technologies in their time (photography, video, the internet, etc). There's already a substantial niche market for sex dolls, and the same will happen with androids (well, gynoids) once the technology improves a bit and the price comes down. It would be happening already if not for the fact that they're so expensive. For some people, it's the best they can expect to get.

    Cyborgs are already becoming a thing. Many people have artificial hip joints due to the original ones being destroyed by arthritis. There are implants for Parkinson's disease that replace a defective part of the brain. This will become commoner over time and a wider range of parts will be replaceable, but since it's happening gradually, people have time to get used to it. I don't see why people with any amount of replacement parts would ever be thought of as less than 100% human.

    Machines already do a lot of medical support work; building such a machine with a human appearance is only a cosmetic change. I can't see an android doing real talk therapy, though. You need a conscious mind for that.

    1. Thank you for the nit-pick! I'll correct that bit.

      And yeah, some of us are definitely cyborg-ish already. We don't need to look like Lieutenant Commander Airiam to be one.

  2. Do you love me, now that I can dance? The Contours circa 1962, updated to appease our robotic overlords...

  3. There was a whole series of books, back in the day, written about human discomfort with too-human appearing robots (or Androids, if you wish). Laws and ultimately Foundations, and I am often reminded of the closing paragraphs of just one, of robots turning the valves that turned the planet radioactive in a burn the village to save the people kind of fulfillment of one of those Laws, driving mankind to the stars, to save mankind.

    Speaking of books, I've mentioned in the past that were we in the next hundred years to find some way to get off this the only ball of rock we know of we can live on, if we somehow survive the deterioration of the thin layer of no longer potentially toxic gases we live in ... we will have been turned out of the garden. It occurred to me this morning and indeed I toyed with turning it into a blog post (not angry enough), that that might be a bad metaphor. I'm not sure enough people are familiar with where "turned out of the garden" comes from.

    Oh, and uh, not all ten billion or more of us will be turned out of the garden. Just a few ...

    1. The rich (Bezo's anyone) will find a way to a new green, sparkly unicorn planet while us peasants will stay here suffocating on the filth we've all created. Bleak future outlook much, Donna?

      The book you refer to — what's the name? I'm wondering if I've read it yet.