[SCIENCE WHY] All Your Rowbutts Are Look Like Us!

Posted by Gcrush 
I sometimes wonder why the fuck all the robots (because mecha are just robots with people inside them) in anime tend to look like people and if that really makes sense in context. Not that I'm complaining, but it is odd from a scientifically grounded perspective. Which is why I enjoyed the following articles when I stumbled across them. Highlights below...

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Krach et al. (2008) Can Machines Think? Interaction and Perspective Taking with Robots Investigated via fMRI. PLoS ONE 3(7).

To summarize, the present study provides first evidence that the degree of human-likeness of a counterpart modulates its perception, influences the communication and behavior, biases "mental" state attribution and, finally, affects cortical activity during such interactions. Here we show that this modulation is linear, thus the more a vis-a-vis agent or entity exhibits human-like features, the more we build a model of its "mind". This process occurs irrespective of its behavioral responses and independently of whether we interact with real human partners or "just" machines. ...we would argue that humans implicitly ascribe automated machines such as humanoid robots mental states...

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Groom et al. (2009) I Am My Robot: The Impact of Robot-building and Robot Form on Operators. HRI '09 Proceedings.

This study indicates that an operator's experience with a robot before operating it and the robot's form affect the operator's attitudes towards the robot. Specifically, people who build the robot they operate extend themselves into the robot and attribute the robot with positive traits. Anthropomorphic form inhibits the tendency to extend the self into a robot, as anthropomorphic robots are perceived to have a more unique identity than functional robots. These results suggest that designers of robots should consider not only the responses of people a robot encounters, but the responses of operators as well. Promoting self-extension is desirable when self-extension improves the interaction... In other cases, self-extension may have undesirable consequences. When operators control robots in hostile environments or when a robot is likely to fail at a high-stakes task [...] minimizing self-extension could reduce the negative impact [...] using a humanoid form would encourage operators to disassociate themselves from the robot's experiences.

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The take-away on these studies is that people tend to see "(more) humanoid" robots as "more human", and having associated human-like qualities such as their own minds and identities. And that's not always a good thing because sometimes its better for the robot to be seen purely as a tool rather than a person. In other words, functional, non-personalized robots are a really good idea. Especially if you are sending out some fucking teenage kid to help save the world from aliens or whatever. Give him a Gundam and he's likely to blame the robot or expect it to pick up the slack when the shit hits the fan. Give him HAL 9000 and he'll fight the Zentradi like his fucking life actually depends on it.

Of course, none of this makes for interesting anime. Humanoid rowbutts always sell the most units.






Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2011 11:03AM by Gcrush.
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From the second article: In addition to a line between seeing a robot as human or tool, there's also a line between seeing a robot as someone else (inferior, questionable personality) and oneself or as an extension of oneself (superior, wonderful personality). Kind of like with kids, I imagine. Or dogs. Speaking of which, I still hate my neighbor's fucking dog. Terrible beast, really. Ill-tempered. Violent. Which may explain why, despite it antagonizing all of his surrounding neighbors, its owner thinks it's the most swell thing on the planet.
B00
Some robots are much cooler than us.



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/2011 05:25PM by B00.
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gingaio Wrote:
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> Or dogs. Speaking of which, I still hate my
> neighbor's fucking dog. Terrible beast, really.

If that dogs wears masks like the above robot I'd be shitting my Un-canine-ny Valley in abject terror.

Actually, I thought it was absolutely remarkable that slapping an awful rubber mask on an armature was enough to up the "humanization" response. But this fails to explain why the Nintendo R.O.B. failed so badly. Not enough latex horror?
Gcrush Wrote:
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> gingaio Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Or dogs. Speaking of which, I still hate my
> > neighbor's fucking dog. Terrible beast, really.
>
> If that dogs wears masks like the above robot I'd
> be shitting my Un-canine-ny Valley in abject
> terror.
>
If that fucking dog went around wearing a mask, I'd at least have a unique and maybe funny-ha-ha situation on hand, as opposed to just a fucking annoying one.
Gcrush Wrote:
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> Actually, I thought it was absolutely remarkable
> that slapping an awful rubber mask on an armature
> was enough to up the "humanization" response.

From: [www.theatlantic.com]

On the "most human human" test, analog to the Turing "most human computer" test:

"The computer program receiving the most votes and highest ranking from the judges (regardless of whether it passes the Turing Test by fooling 30 percent of them) is awarded the title of the Most Human Computer. It is this title that the research teams are all gunning for, the one with the cash prize (usually $3,000), the one with which most everyone involved in the contest is principally concerned. But there is also, intriguingly, another title, one given to the confederate who is most convincing: the Most Human Human award.

"One of the first winners, in 1994, was the journalist and science-fiction writer Charles Platt. How’d he do it? By “being moody, irritable, and obnoxious,” as he explained in Wired magazine—which strikes me as not only hilarious and bleak, but, in some deeper sense, a call to arms: how, in fact, do we be the most human we can be—not only under the constraints of the test, but in life?"
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