Female robots will blush before killing humans

Researchers at Bielefeld University in Germany have created a robotic head called Flobi that expresses emotions, most of them ticked-off-at-men-looks.

The people who work on robots are determined to make them more human-like in terms of emotions, as well as actions. This is while knowing that human emotions suck and tend to end up creating things like war, genocide, and really, really bad breakups between people about to leave on a two week vacation to Maui.

So it is with Flobi, a ladylike robotic head developed by German engineers at the Bielefeld University. She ain’t much to look at, but she has 18 actuators, and an assortment of microphones, gyroscopes, and high-res cameras. Apparently, you can swap the features from female to male, and that’s pretty cool because, making robots palatable to humans is a big deal.

Anyhow, we have no robot hate here; no one wants angry robots because angry robots kill you. In reality, the true passion in creating robots with human-like characteristics is to make them less scary to you and me. Kind of Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The original basis for Flobi was a robot called Simon, who wimps his way into your heart, and yes, he does look like a dork. Ironically, Simon was designed to be less human because, the researchers didn’t want to freak out people. However, the technology on Simon got tinkered with, and lead to Flobi, which is more human but cautiously so. All this is to avoid the uncanny valley hypothesis. In short, this means if it walks like a human, and talks like a human, a robot freaks people out, but it needs to be just human enough to make human robot interfaces easy to use.

Yes, we could blow them all up and save ourselves from oblivion, but the geeks want to kill us all and live quietly in their digital bunkers so, whatchya gonna do.

The IEEE, which originally covered the Flobi story, also has this bizarre, not in a good way, graphic on robot babies. Geico has no robot insurance so, we are all doomed.