Robots Aren’t Human. You Only Make Them So

from Wired

IF A ROBOT were to look at you with a twinkle in its eye, you wouldn’t be blamed for running away in terror. But that plunge into the uncanny valley doesn’t bother Max Aguilera-Hellweg, who’s been photographing anthropomorphic bots since 2010. “I’ve never found myself afraid of any of them,” he says. In fact, he’d love for his subjects to appear more lifelike. A student of anatomy—Aguilera-­Hellweg graduated from med school at 48—he looks for “the right angle to find that bit of humanness.” But the point of his new book, Humanoid, isn’t to terrify you. It’s to remind you that robots aren’t human—we only make them so.

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22 Responses to Robots Aren’t Human. You Only Make Them So

  1. Anthony Laverde April 25, 2017 at 10:41 pm #

    The article is short and to the point but offers little to no evidence to support its argument. Although the argument is correct in stating, “That robots aren’t human—we only make them so” there is nothing to support it other than a couple of photographs. The area of robotics is growing at an exponential rate along with all of technology-based sectors. With this growth comes many people questioning the ethics of future artificial intelligence and what rights they should have. This article was clearly made to argue against those points.
    Artificial intelligence means putting cognitive and emotional responses into electronics whether that means robots or something else. A fully developed AI has not been made that has one hundred percent human like reactions yet people are advocating for their rights. There is a basic level of interest due to science fiction and the fact that in so many stories robots end up attempt to take control over the human race. This creates fear within the public and raises concern for general ethics about how to far the advancement of AI and robotics should go.

    Robots should not have the same rights as human’s period. Robots gain all of their power and intelligence from humans and we should be able to take that away from any robot at any given time. Obviously, they should be respected just like any other piece of technology but they should not be on the same level as humans. The artist depicts the robots as humans only for aesthetic purposes and does not actually believe they are on the same level as humans. There is a general curiosity that drives science and it would be amazing if the human race can master robotics to the point of having them walk, talk and react like humans but they are not living breathing beings they will still require maintenance that is very different from any living being. The other ethical question brought on by robotics is whether they should even be made at all
    Robots and androids are evolving to the point where their likeness to humans can almost be indistinguishable just look at picture 5. Sure, this is cool and interesting but should it be done? Yes and no. As long as the android is not meant to replace another person then I have no moral issue with it but once an android begins to represent another person or replace that person on an emotional level it becomes unethical. There should be regulations and laws prohibiting the practice of making androids to represent people. For example, if an android were made to look and speak like Abraham Lincoln people will associate what that robot says to what his opinions would have actually been. This can help persuade people into believing something false. The same could be said for an android meant to represent a person that is currently living. The android can be used to persuade a person to do something that the actual person would not condone.

    The advancement of robotics and AI should be heavily monitored and regulated because it will cause many ethical problems in the near future.

  2. Lauren Burbank April 26, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

    I think these photos are a really great idea. I love photography and if someone is able to take photos of a subject and have those photos give the illusion of something that isn’t real, I think it’s a job well done. Not many people would get the opportunity to photograph robots, so this is a cool project to take a look at. I love the last two the most, probably because they were the most human looking out of the subjects. I don’t think it’s creepy, but I can see why it might make some people uncomfortable.
    As the article suggests, its’ only as disturbing as you make it out to be. Robots are not humans, but our minds can bring them to life through our imaginations and pre-existing notions of robots. I think most people’s concerns about AI are fears based on watching too many sci-fi movies or because they’re worried they’ll be replaced as workers. The first one doesn’t really have any logic behind it and it would be difficult to convince someone to get over it, depending on how deep their fears are. I still can’t convince some of my friends that having general clown phobia is silly, and I would associate people with a fear of robots into the same category. The second fear is a more reasonable one as we have seen how our country is already content with paying people less than livable wages.
    The goal of making robots appear more and more human seems normal to me. It’s interesting and meets the need for great aesthetics in everything we do with technology now. I thought the part that mentioned the man who used his wife’s digital memories to program a robot was fascinating. There’s a Netflix show called “Black Mirror” that has an episode based on this same concept. The plot of the episode is that a young woman’s husband died in a car accident and she wasn’t ready to move on. She purchased a product that used recordings of his voice and social media posts to create an AI that would be able to talk to her on the phone. It would say things that he would say and it would have his voice. She takes it further when she orders an updated version of the product—a lifesize robot that transforms into an exact look-a-like to her husband. She becomes unhappy with it when it’s limitations are revealed. The AI cannot react or respond to situations where there is no digital record from her late husband, such as an argument between the two of them. This episode doesn’t seem to be an impossible concept of where AI could advance in the future. While I doubt it would be as affordable and easy to order as it was in the show, I believe that it is entirely realistic that one day celebrities or wealthy people in general will be able to “transfer” their digital memories into an exact AI-look-a-like. It would probably be used as a way for them to be in multiple places at one time or as an after-death way to continue their legacies.

  3. Alex Strom April 27, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

    In this new day and age, we are seeing new technological advances in multiple departments everyday. Robotics is no different, as we are seeing new developments all the time throughout the world. These robots that are being made are being created for different purposes, but ultimately, they all use similar algorithms to operate. There are robots being made to recreate the presence of a person that has passed, which is something that is very scary to think about. We have no idea what kind of new robots we are going to create, so we have to be careful when making advancements in this area.
    This article, which was written by Charley Locke on Wired, tells us how robots are not humans, but we as humans can make them seem like humans. It is an interesting concept to think about, especially considering the fact that there is a person trying to get married to a robot. In this article, there is a photographer named Max Aguilera-Hellweg, who has photographed robots since 2010. The first picture in this article shows a robot that NASA created named Valkyrie, which is predicted to go to mars before humans do. The next picture shows a small robotic baby that was created by Osaka University, and is called the Tot-Bot. After that, the Texas-based Hanson Robotics has created robotic skin that they call Frubber. The pursuing picture shows Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro’s creating, which looks like a more developed version of the Frubber. The picture after that shows what looks like a girl, called Yuma, who is meant to look like a Hollywood actress from the 40’s. The last picture of robots shows a replica of a person, who looks almost identical to the actual person they are supposed to represent. Robots are beginning to be able to look like real human beings, which makes it easier for us to have compassion towards them.
    We have no idea what the future is going to look like, because we have yet to go through it. However, it can be presumed that robots are going to be relevant in the future, based on the fact that they are currently being developed and are starting to divulge in our society. There have been a couple of movies made and predictions made about what this new world is going to be like, but no one is really sure what the future holds. Some movies show people falling in love with robots, which seems like something very farfetched and something that does not seem plausible. However, the human mind is a crazy thing, and I do not doubt the idea that things like this may happen. We are already seeing people attempting to marry robots, which shows what the human mind is capable of. The implication of robots can be a great thing for our society, but we also have to be careful when going through this process. Robots are a lot smarter than humans are, so we need to make sure that us as humans always have the upper hand. There have also been some movies made where technology takes over the world, which is something many people thought was going to happen on January 1, 2000. We are in the middle of the technological revolution, so there is no doubt in my mind that we are going to create functioning robots. It is our duty as human to be careful and responsible when implementing this technology, so we must be very careful and use extreme caution.

  4. George Tannous April 28, 2017 at 12:56 am #

    I have heard many philosophical arguments regarding AI’s and robots and everything points to them at some point being viewed as equal to humans. Humans are created just as robots are, this aspect is similar since neither just pop into existence. Humans conceive other humans and humans conceive robots. One will argue that robots have to be programmed by humans so this makes them unequal. But just like robots, humans are taught everything they know by parents and teachers. One does not just learn how to speak on their own, they have to be taught how to. The arguments are interesting and compelling, and everything points to AI gaining rights in the future as they become more complex and more human like. With the integration of super AI’s that have access to a large database of information it is compelling to see how things play out.
    The article points out how we as humans give robots human characteristics. We go as far as to give them a skin and a structure that is like ours. In a way, it is no surprise that the future of AI’s will be widely debated as to if they should receive rights. There are going to be activists who will claim that they do have rights and should receive rights, I do not doubt it at all. What makes it even more pivotal is how they are gaining the ability to integrate human consciousness and memory into robots. The photograph’s that Locke has taken just show and prove how human like robots actually could be. Locke did a great job in showing both the human and robot side of the AI’s. I also found it interesting how he talked about the instinctual fear we have when we see robots. We always fear things we do not understand. And we are relatively very early in robotics and computing technology and each year they get even more complex. In 10 or so years we will see robots that are multi-functional and practical to the point that they will be sold in high demand. It is just like computers, where in the late 90’s and early 00’s there was dial up internet on slow and big computers. Roughly 10 years later in 2007, the iPhone was created and that entire computer set up was able to fit right in the pocket. The same will happen with robots where they will be sold on a larger level. Eventually robots will come to a point where they will be so complex that they will mimic humans verbatim. The argument of AI’s having rights is conceivable at that point. It is intimidating to think that our jobs and careers will be taken over by AI’s. If minimum wage consistently increases, this will make it only more likely that bots will take our jobs. At McDonald’s they have already started to install machines that take peoples orders instead of having a cashier. If the minimum wage increases, owners will result to this instead of hiring employees. I think regardless this will be more common as time goes on.

  5. Jacob Hoelting April 28, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    Just looking at the pictures on this website gave me the creeps. Making robots to look like and act like humans is just wrong. As always, I come back to the same argument when it comes to robots and humans- we have all seen Terminator. This movie has instilled fear into the hearts of every boy, girl, man, women, child, etc. Every single person should be afraid of robots that have the same attributes as humans. We are a special creature that has a conscience and can make decisions based on things we know and things we want- only humans have this ability. Any scientist that is trying to out these abilities into a robot needs to go to prison right now! While it is an irrational fear of mine of robots rising up and trying to eradicate humans it is logical to think it is possible for robots to win a fight every time. In the HBO series, “Westworld”, the creators explore the possibility of giving these robots such abilities. Watching this show is creepy because the “robots” look exactly like humans, because they are actors and actresses, and you cannot tell the difference between a robot and an actual person. The thing that makes this show all the more scary is the ending of the first season. Throughout the show, the robots were the only ones that could get shot. In the last episode of the season a robot showing that the game has changed, shoots one of the main human characters. This is a huge problem for the park of Westworld because now the robots remember everything that people have done to them and act out of revenge. If this is the case, robots gaining consciousness, this could go very badly for every guest in the park. By that, I mean that since the park endorses doing whatever you want to these robots and now the robots remembering those actions they will act out of revenge and spite. Not just in “Westworld”, but if any robot were to gain consciousness that would be a huge problem. This would be a problem because they could come to realize that they are smarter than humans are and decide that they do not need us and go on a massive rampage. This is why robots should not be built to look or think like a human. A human not have any kind of human capabilities that make it not need a human to work. Without this basis robots could rise up and take over humans and kill us all. This is an extreme version of what the article is talking about, but it is true. While the article talks about how the relationship between the way a robot looks and how much humans trust it is related. Much like that article talks about, I do not trust a robot that looks anything like a human or acts like a human. Humans are unique and special and it should stay that way.

  6. Thomas Dellisanti April 28, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

    The idea of creating robots that look exactly like humans is, in my opinion, somewhat unsettling. Looking at something that looks incredibly lifelike but is not alive is, at the least, very strange. However, the article does have a point in that the robots are as human as we make them. We can clearly tell that there is a difference between humans and robots, and if we can get past the striking similarity that some robots exhibit, there should not be any issue. Lifelike robots can be really beneficial in certain situations, including the one mentioned in this article. Hellweg, a student of anatomy, can create robots that are very lifelike to help other people understand the intricacies of the human body. Medical students can even operate on lifelike robots to prepare for real surgeries.

    There is a TV show called Westworld that explores the idea of incredibly lifelike robots. In the show, a company opens up a “theme park” that allows its guests to pretty much do anything they want by acting like a cowboy in a western setting. However, this happens because the people that the guests interact with in the park are all robots that are almost indistinguishable from real people. These robots also have personality settings that make them act like real humans. At one point in the show, the ideas of this article become clear. One of the guests is told multiple times that the robots are not real humans, yet he still feels sympathetic for them. The robots were not real, but because of their incredibly lifelike construction, they were still able to convince the character that their feelings were real. Of course, this is just fiction, but considering that the robots in the show are somewhat similar looking to the robot in picture 7, the idea of robots becoming almost indistinguishable from humans is not such a farfetched idea.

    This concept can also be attributed to the advancement of technology to create increasingly lifelike robots. Just like smartphones and other advanced pieces of technology, previously simple inventions are becoming almost human like. There are two opinions on this subject. One group of people thinks that it is a marvel of technological engineering to create a robot that looks just like a human, and the other group thinks that it is creepy and unsettling that robots that look just like humans were even created. However, as technology still becomes increasingly more advanced, this is a reality that we must be able to accept. In the near future, robots can and will be constructed to replace jobs that humans are already doing. It has already happened in jobs of manual labor, where entire factories are being completely operated by robots. Soon, as we discussed in Professor Shannon’s class, even more jobs will be replaced with robots, including jobs such as doctors, taxi and Uber drivers, and many others. Considering that technology will definitely not be going away and will only become much smarter, we need to be prepared and accept these changes. There are countless movie ideas that show what happens if technology and AI becomes too smart, so we must not look at smarter technology as a bad thing.

  7. Nicholas Thomas April 28, 2017 at 5:54 pm #

    There is a notion that because robots are becoming more “human” they will take over society and replace humans entirely. Already robots and AI’s are replacing some of the work force, so humans must be obsolete, and Skynet will take over the over. Despite making an interesting movie series, this notion is not encroaching upon reality any time soon. It is important to remember that these robots and AI’s are only becoming more “human” because of the work of humans. We create robots, and improve upon them to create or meet some need, not to creep people out or to fulfill a world domination plan.
    Cosmetically robots are becoming more “human” meaning they look more realistic, and move like humans. From an appearance perspective robots now have “skin,” “hair,” “teeth,” and “eyes.” All of these factors work well together until the robots become too realistic. At some point when robots become too realistic they become disturbing and enter the “creepy valley.” One of theories on why robots become creepy is because people can tell that the robots are not alive in the same ways humans are. As a result, seeing a realistic robot move triggers some sensor in the human brain that says this thing is dead, so it is like watching a dead corpse move around. While I do subscribe to this theory to some extent, I do not believe that these robots need to be feared, but applauded because they are examples of how developed robotic engineering has come. Moreover, the realism of robots is a benefit to certain people. For example, realistic robots help with prosthetics. At the end of the article the video by cyborg nation highlights leg prosthetics that move like the human knee, ankle, and foot. I think that if this technology was only used by a robot people may find it creepy, but on a person is normal is extremely beneficial. I believe it is the application of realism in robots whether on robots or on people that makes the differentiation between creepy or otherwise. Moreover, other than leg prosthetic, I think if realism for robots continues to developed realistic replacements for eyes, and ears could be created. Again, realistic eyes or ears on robots may seem creepy, but could be a huge benefit for people in need of an eye or ear. Realistic robots may be creepy, but can ultimately be a benefit to people.
    Robots are also becoming more “human” in their thinking process and what they can perceive. Generally, robotics are considered cold mathematical machines; however, the article mentions a robot capable of contemplating the human condition. Robots are now capable of debating philosophy, creating poetry, and art, all things considered to be human in nature. In other words, robots can be creative. However, I do not think this is a threat to humanity, but a challenge to refine what it means to be human. Robots can help us improve ourselves; they do not serve as a threat to us.

  8. Antoneta Sevo April 28, 2017 at 6:11 pm #

    As we have grown, there have been plenty of movies and portrayals of evil robots who want to destroy humans in some sense. I, Robot, The Terminator, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, are only a few examples of movies where a robot or Artificial Intelligence wanted to bring havoc. Since this was how robots were represented, many people assumed that robots would always be that way. They simply did not give this new technology a chance. People tend to dwell on the negatives more than the positives. Just like how some people can hear thousands of compliments but they only remember the one insult. There are definitely movies out there that portray a more helpful side to robots. That includes WALL-E in WALL-E, Baymax in Big Hero 6, C3PO and R2D2 in Star Wars, and Optimus Prime in Transformers, which are only a few examples. Though there is the possibility of positive effects from robots, the idea of a robot usually carries a negative connotation. This article “Robots Aren’t Human. You Only Make Them So,” shows how the development of robots is continuing to evolve and how they can look lifelike. Due to the advancement of this technology, many people are becoming skeptical of how the robots could act and the way they look. Through the photographs provided by Max Aguiler-Hellweg, it is clear that the age of human-like robots has come. As the article states “But the point of his new book, Humanoid, isn’t to terrify you. It’s to remind you that robots aren’t human—we only make them so.” That is what most humans tend to forget.

    Many people find human-like robots creepy which I sometimes agree with. However, I think it is important to realize the mechanics behind these creations. That is why I do not fully hate the idea. Seeing these human-like robots, it shows me how far our world has really come when it comes to technology. That is what most people should think about. Robots are machines and not even close to being human. We simply make them human. That is the true issue. Appearances should not matter, what matters is what is on the inside. If people begin to believe that robots are simply machines and technology, maybe some of the negative connotation could dissipate.

    Stephen Harris from The Engineer interviewed an expert panel regarding humanoid robots. One of the questions what about the ‘uncanny valley’ effect and the best way to avoid the problem. Rich Walker, director of Shadow Robot Company, answered, “Don’t try and build replicates – problem avoided.” David Bisset, autonomous systems consultant said “The uncanny valley effect is an advantage: it stops robots from appearing to be human and that is potentially a good thing.” These experts believe that the exact human aspects in robots are not necessary and I agree. Since this negative light on humanoid robots exists, I think it would be beneficial if the robots did not look exactly like humans. I do not think that humans want to be fooled into thinking a humanoid is an actual person. The robots in the movies listed above all looked like robots despite some human attributes. I think the perception of humanoids must be changed in order to have true success and enthusiasm for the coming age of robots which is simply unavoidable.

  9. Sirina Natarajan April 28, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

    I found the chart in the beginning of the article very interesting and actually pretty funny because it is entirely accurate. The “uncanny valley” is a nice way of putting “the point where we realize we have actually made humanoid robots”. When a robot becomes too human, it becomes less likable and more creepy and we, as humans, get too freaked out by the technology we created. It is as if we do not understand that when we aim to create a more realistic robot, we will eventually create robots that look exactly like us. I think it is really cool that we are progressing technology like this even further. If we are able to make robots look more human-like, we have a better chance of implementing artificial intelligence into the everyday world more seamlessly.
    Although, I cannot really lie, the baby robot was a little too much for me because it just looked too human. I know that that is the point, but I cannot help but ask why they would need a robot to look like a baby. The rocker robot made me laugh, but only because he has an eyebrow piercing and it looks like he was made for human pleasure instead of having some specific purpose like the Mars robot. The most freaky of all the robots, however: the robot used to as a vessel to put a person’s human consciousness inside of it. It reminds me of a Black Mirror episode I watched where a woman’s husband died, so they uploaded all of his emails, calls, videos and social media accounts to a website that is compile to create a program that acts exactly like the deceased. It does not sound too bad, and could even help some people grieve, but it can get pretty weird really fast. I think it would make people believe that the person they lost is still alive which can create a whole slew of psychological problems (which it did in the episode) and actually end up hurting the person.
    I think there are many upsides to this development, however. We can use these human-like robots to do menial jobs that we do not want to do or that we do not really need do. These robots could be assistants, secretaries, analysts, actuaries, or even teachers. They can even put the human-like robots in the autonomous vehicles hitting the streets to make the passenger feel more comfortable than they would be by themselves in the car. Artificial intelligence can do anything a human can do, but they can do it significantly faster and much more efficiently. We have an upper hand when it comes to creativity, but most people will not be able to keep up with the drastic change our society is heading towards. I fear that with such a large step in technological advance, we will leave behind a big chunk of the world to catch up. But that may be exactly what we need to propel ourselves into the future.

  10. Owen Balseiro April 28, 2017 at 7:41 pm #

    The line between human and robot is ever growing smaller and thinner. But as of now robots do not really have the capabilities to show the full range of human emotions. But what i would like to focus on are the characters in video games. While they are not the robots we often see in science fantasy, in movies like terminator. These characters often show more human emotions than many of their human counterparts. Many people in today’s world are emotionless husks of people who just go through the motions and seem devoid of any emotion at all. While on the other hand many in game characters in stories from games often have a full range of emotions that are shown. And while these are all scripted it does show the potential future of what robots can some too. Take R2D2 for example. Even though he only communicates through peeps and howls. We fully understand the emotions that he goes through and we are also helped along by C3PO. This also serves to show that people don’t need a fine tuned language he only needed beeps and howls and a partner to get all of his emotions and points across to the audience.

    Personally I think it is only a matter of time before cybernetics attachments and regularly made to the human body. And there the line between human and robot will be even thinner than it is before. But the point of the article was to show that the only thing that makes a robot human, is a human who sees it as that. And while I could be sitting here for hours upon hours debating what it means to be human. I am going to just boil it down and put it simply as this. I think human means to be conscious of what you believe it right and wrong. From your moral perspective and what society as a whole thinks it is. And of course these two will never always line up perfectly as what society thinks and what you may think, may be at odds. But when robotics advance to the point where artificial consciousness is a possibility then we will be able to create robots in the image of humans.

    Today and how we view humans can be compared to easily to how people view their dogs or cats. They are obviously not human, but we still in many cases treat them as a full member of the family. Like if they were human. My dog for example sleeps on our beds, does his best to sit next to us when some of us are eating and he wants food. And while I know he is a dog, i still call him by a human name, and i give him much of the same love I would give any human member of my family. And if robots ever become commercially available for purchase and fill a similar role of a pet or butler. I believe that many humans will take the same approach to their robots as if they were just another part of the family. It is just what humans do.

  11. Ryan Appello April 28, 2017 at 7:53 pm #

    Even if it is irrational, I do admit I am scared of robots, especially when display human-like qualities. Something about it just creeps me out. I couldn’t even stay on the article page without getting shivers down my spine as I sit in my dimly lit room. I keeping turning my head to make sure one of those creepy things aren’t behind me. Now, I know why more and more robots seem to be made as humanoids. If they are going to continue to be used in a widespread manner, they are going to have to blend into the world. At least, that’s what people think In my opinion, it’s ironic that robots who are made to look human and make people feel comfortable actually terrify most people. To me, if it’s a robot, it should look like one. I don’t want to see human hair, eyes, or skin on a robot. It makes little sense to me. If a robot is going to work in a human position, make it look like a robot, please. In a situation where I would have to interact with a bot, I would much rather know what it is and not what it could be. It just creeps me out too much to be comfortable with, and I can’t be the only one.

    On the other hand, I do have to accept change. The future generations might not find these human looking bots as scary at all, especially if they grow up around them. What I’m saying is that my fear might be the product of my lack of familiarity with these robots if I grew up with them around more often, I probably wouldn’t be as scared. Like Prof. Shannon said, we need to be adaptable to the future and its changes. So, I am willing to try to get past my fears of these robots if it means I’ll be more successful later on. I mean come on, as long as they’re not programmed to enslave the human race of something, what should I be afraid of? As I mentioned, this fear is mostly irrational, but imagine how you would feel if one of these robots were hacked and reprogrammed to attack people. That’s so much more terrifying than an actual person doing it. Considering all of this, I don’t think these robots will ever stop creeping me out and I don’t have much of a problem with that. It’s unnatural for a robot to look like a person, at least that’s what I’m telling myself to feel better about this. There must be a reason for my body to be scared of these things, so I’d rather just keep my guard up and not risk anything. I just hope its later rather than sooner that these things start roaming the streets. I don’t know what I’d do if I walked into a restaurant and was served by one of these atrocities.

  12. Peter DeSantis April 28, 2017 at 8:00 pm #

    I found the article titled, “Robots Aren’t Human. You Only Make Them So,” by Charley Locke to be thought provoking yet overall a disturbing piece. As this introductory course on the legal environment of the business world has progressed, I have just about come to accept the fact that robots are real, already prevalent in our current society, and here to stay. As the technology advances, more and more jobs which were originally done by humans are slowly being replaced with robots to do the exact same work. I cannot say that I am a fan of robots, but I do understand that they are the future of our society. As a business major, I am all for maximum productivity at minimum costs in order to increase efficiency. So, I do understand that machines are great for businesses, but I do not want to see Americans out of work because that would be truly devastating. Therefore, either new jobs are going to have to be created or some other fair solution is going to need to be realized. Robots are most likely the best way for our society to continue growing and advancing. If we could come up with another way to do so, I’m sure I would probably take that over AI machines, but at the moment this is our best shot.

    This article includes some snapshots taken by Max Aguilera-Hellweg who photographs anthropomorphic bots. To me these pictures were more than just a little frightening. These are manmade mobile robots that look, talk, and walk like humans. Just imagine how creepy it would be to go to Madame Tussauds but instead of the life-size wax figurines staying in one place, they walk around and talk to visitors. To me I would find that terrifying because although they seem real, I know that they are not the actual historical figure or current celebrity.

    I do not see why people who are making these robots are trying to make them look more and more like humans. It makes no sense to me and raises questions as to what makes something a human. If programmers and scientists discover a way to give these robots the ability to make decisions on their own and have a conscience as well it will be problematic for society. Will robots then be considered humans for legal purposes? Who do you sue, the robot or the programmer who made it? Would robots be given the same rights as humans? I sure hope that they are not. To me humans can only be produced by other humans through natural biological means; there can be nothing artificial whatsoever. Robots should not receive the same privileges as humans do. I think that humans should do whatever it takes to keep robots corralled, never allowing them to have the ability to act or think for themselves. They should only be programmed to perform certain simple tasks. The crucial decision making should be left up to humans because we have a conscience and are capable of considering what is best for humans ad what is most ethical. This article was certainly interesting, but those human looking robots were unnerving and I hope I never have to see anything like that in person ever.

  13. Daniel Anglim April 28, 2017 at 8:35 pm #

    Technology has grown exponentially in the past couple of years, and humans are getting closer to developing robots that look, talk, and behave just like humans. With talking AI devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri it is not that hard to imagine robots taking life like form in the future. The article, “Robots Aren’t Human. You Only Make Them So” by Charley Locke talks about the creation of robots by humans. The big thing to remember about robots is that they are programmed to do certain things by someone, they are not able to think for themselves. Yes, sometimes the similar qualities of humans to robots can be scary and nerve-racking but you must remember someone programed that robot to do those certain things. Robots have so many uses in the world around us, their possibilities seem endless. Locke says this about Robots, “IF A ROBOT were to look at you with a twinkle in its eye, you wouldn’t be blamed for running away in terror. But that plunge into the uncanny valley doesn’t bother Max Aguilera-Hellweg, who’s been photographing anthropomorphic bots since 2010. “I’ve never found myself afraid of any of them,” he says. In fact, he’d love for his subjects to appear more lifelike. A student of anatomy—Aguilera-­Hellweg graduated from med school at 48—he looks for “the right angle to find that bit of humanness.” But the point of his new book, Humanoid, isn’t to terrify you. It’s to remind you that robots aren’t human—we only make them so” Locke is trying to highlight to the reader how robots are only what you make them to be. You can’t be scared of something that can think on its own, if you know what it is going to do there is nothing to fear. Next, Locke shows examples of different AI devices and their similarities to human behavior. One of the more intriguing things Locke brings up is the baby robot from Osaka University, “Researchers at Osaka University had to miniaturize the robotics to fit into the tiny body of Affetto. “He was too cute and adorable” with clothes on, Aguilera-­Hellweg says, so he asked the team to undress the tot-bot.” The fact that someone is calling a robot that mimics a baby cute is very strange to me. Robots are not cute, they are not even real living things. As the list of Locke’s examples increase, the robots look more and more alike to humans. One picture shows a robot that is made in the image of model Geminoid F, and there is a side by side comparison between the robot and a human. Robots are going to take over the future, it is only a matter of time. It is going to be humans’ fault for developing these robots that are almost identical to humans, at the rate technology is increasing robots will be everywhere in the matter of years. That means taking important jobs away from the working class, it is important to prepare for the future.

  14. Julian Manzano April 28, 2017 at 8:37 pm #

    The development of AI and robots and general has become increasingly unnerving for many people, including myself. I recently saw a video of a robot who could respond to human commands and it could lift things and travel at high speeds. We also have a little robot in our hand that can respond to many different requests, this being Siri on our iPhones. Giving our phones voices and robots faces makes the future a very scary thought. The fact that you can basically have a conversation with a phone, not someone on the other side of the phone, but the actual phone is extremely weird when you think about it. We are giving inanimate objects personalities and character, when they are just objects written by code and metal. These objects are not human and it is really creepy when we try to make objects human. The more we try to make objects human, the more we drift away from reality. That is one of the downsides of technology. With all these new technologies, we lose our sense of reality. With new experiences like digital reality and AI, we can sometimes forget that we are human and this technology is not. In one of the examples presented in this article, someone created a robot with 20 hours of her wife’s recorded memory. This, to me, is extremely creepy and unnerving. If this can be created, who knows what else the future holds. Are we going to have fake humans that we cannot distinguish from real ones? This may be a thing, because another example in this article is about robot skin. This gives the robot various number of facial expressions that the robot can express. Again, this is really creepy. Probably the most disturbing example was the robot baby. And a quote from this article even makes this robot baby creepier. “’He was too cute and adorable’ with clothes on, Aguilera-­Hellweg says, so he asked the team to undress the tot-bot.” Making robots human and referring to them as so is extremely dangerous. We cannot forget that this is technology, not mankind. If we forget this, we, as a society, could lose touch of reality and therefore, lose what makes us human, emotion and consciousness. With all the technology, there is no way this pure human feeling can be given to a robot… At least I hope not.

  15. Juan Landin April 29, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    Robots have been looked at as a fictional creation that only exists in movies and books. Now, as technology advances we are getting closer to robots becoming a reality. We have already developed some robots with limited capabilities but as we continue to research, we develop better and better ones over time. One of the main goals of scientists and researchers is to make a robot that can carry out any tasks that we may need them to. A Swiss Army Knife of a robot. This may seem a ways away but we are getting close. One of the biggest obstacles that may need to be crossed once we do develop this kind of technology is the distrust people may have for robots. The media have depicted robots as harmless and helpful objects in some movies, but in most movies, this is the opposite. The idea that robots are too dangerous and can take on a mind of its own has been depicted repeatedly in the media. This concept is what the movie franchise “Terminator” is based upon.

    The truth is, the people should be worried and concerned about the dangers of having intelligent technology in the future. You see, right now we have basically figured out how to create the actual functioning robot. What scientists are now trying to do is develop an intelligent form of A.I. technology in order to put into the robots. In doing this the robots will be able to think for themselves whenever faced with a situation and will act upon that situation based on how its A.I. is programmed. However, equipping these robots with this kind of advanced technology does not come with any guarantees. One cannot help but think of the terminator or iRobot when looking at a robot. It has been installed in our minds through the help of the media. However, the researchers are not helping either. You see, scientists and researchers are working very fast to perfect this combination of intelligence and technology. They are doing this with the hopes of publicizing this technology so that it can be normalized into society’s daily lives. They think it is that easy, I do not think I will be trusting enough to let something in my house that can think for itself.

    What we also need to think about is the rest of the world and how they are researching and developing this level of technology as well. We may have very innocent idea for this level of technology, but I guarantee we will also use it for not so innocent idea, such as the military. Other countries know if we develop this technology and incorporate it into our military, then we will be far more dangerous and therefore a threat. This is why, reportedly, other countries have surpassed us with either A.I. technology or the robotics technology. They want to have that edge over us in order to for them to be seen as a country not to be messed with. However, other countries may have more insidious plans when developing this technology but many of them are rushing to create it and therefore their idea will have a far less chance of working. This is why we need to catch up to other countries in developing this kind of technology; if not then we have an uncertain future ahead of us.

  16. Robert Seijas April 29, 2017 at 7:51 pm #

    It is true that robots are not human, in fact they can never be human. They are machines and are designed and built rather than born. Robots are not living, and do not grow and develop as people do. That seems less obvious, as modern robots are becoming much more lifelike. Whether they are being built in the physical shape of humans to learn how to walk and grab things, or are given human faces, the reason they are becoming more and more humanlike is because people tend to build things in their own image. Humanity is not as creative as it would like to think, and has dreamt for the last hundred years of building robots in humanoid structure. The classic dystopian silent film, “Metropolis” is one of the oldest examples of this as the robot in the movie is built to appear as a woman. We think of the form that has the most relation to us, which is a humanoid form that appears as a man or woman. Another example which takes it a step further is the cyborgs from “The Terminator” franchise, as they are completely human on the outside, but only humanoid robotic on the inside. They share the greatest resemblance to humans, not only due to their purpose in the films as infiltrators, but because nothing would scare people more than being unable to tell the difference between themselves and machines.
    Having difficulty making distinctions between what is human and what is not is an interesting idea, which can also make people consider their own humanity and the chances that they are not human. This is a scary thought, to believe for an entire lifetime that you are human only to be wrong in the end. Currently, that is only an idea as robots do not look completely human, cannot be powered efficiently enough to seem human, and do not have true and complex artificial intelligence that would allow them to appear this way. Since robotics do not mimic human thought realistically, there is an easy way to identify what is human and what is not. We may see something that looks completely human, but could realize it is not with a simple interaction. The time where an artificial intelligence program mimics human behavior completely realistically is the true time to panic. From this point, there would be no clear way to tell a human from a robot or cyborg, and that would make many question their own humanity as well as society.
    Robots are a highly complex and frightening technology that is nowhere near perfect at the moment, but can very easily reach that point when taking into consideration the exponential sped that technology improves and changes. There is no way to be sure when the changes with robotics from faux to realistic will come, but they definitely will come. Humans will no longer be alone in image, and will have to compete for humanity from mimicking technologies. Although robots will never be human, there will eventually be no way to tell.

  17. Antonne Watson June 5, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

    Technology in general has always been controversial to people. Some believe that smart phones and computers make people less dependent on using their brains and more dependent on using these devices to make life easier for them in a way that creates a lazy lifestyle that could later become unhealthy. We all have a different views on the advancement of technology from technological devices like Amazon’s Alexa, which can connect and control and whole house, to self driving vehicles, to tiny surgeon bots which can be injected into a human and (without the control of a human doctor) perform surgery. However, I believe creating humanoid robots is both creepy and unnecessary.
    Humans have been working on the advancement of humanoid robots since this first humanoid robot Created by Leonardo Di Vinchi around 1495. Ever since then, new humanoid robots have been created to compete with the creators of other humanoid robots. As time went on, the focus/purpose of humanoid robots went to the category of personal assistance and working. An example of this is ASIMO, a humanoid robot created by Honda. ASIMO can, perform tasks such as pouring liquids into a cup, stacking blocks on top of each other, recognizing multiple humans and objects, dancing, running (creepy), traveling up and down stairs, jumping, dancing and other features doing everything independently. Although the many features of ASIMO can overwhelm a person skeptical about the advancement of humanoid robots, the robot can serve a great purpose as a caretaker in the homes for people with disabilities and an assistant for nurses in retirement homes.
    However, we begin to cross over into the uncanny valley when we try to create robots like ASIMO who have human like features. The Henn-na hotel in Japan has a hotel staff primarily consisting of humanoid robots. I personally find this unnecessary and unsettling. The more we try to make objects human, the more we drift away from reality. Although these are just robots with the look and even feel of humans, they still primarily run off of a script and have very little to no improv ability. If humans want to continue to make humanoid robots, that fine. But under no circumstances should they have to ability to have free will, free thoughts, free speech or anything along those lines to make them more than what they are…just robots. Technology has already proven to be much smarter than man. Proof of this was when a robot specifically built to play the complex and ancient Chinese game of GO, beat the world’s best player of the game.
    The robot was not humanoid but it had to capability to beat the top player of the 2,500 year old game.
    Humanoid robots who will eventually be able to be indistinguishable from human, with an advanced mind and unpredictability would not be a good thing for mankind. Warnings of this can be found in the 2015 film Ex Machina and an abundance of sci-fi movies.

  18. Tianqi Xu September 13, 2017 at 5:19 pm #

    As the title tell us, “Robots aren’t human. You only make them so”. The thesis statement of this article is trying to say that even though the development of an artificial intelligence improved dramatically in recent years, robots are still robots and there are differences between human and robots.
    In fact, I have seen many robots looks like human; however, they are not functional as real human. First of all, human are real flesh and made with uncountable cells and all kinds of organs. Robots are made of metals and other artificial materials. Robots itself cannot function only if people put coding inside their body. Here is the second different. Human do everything depend on the brain. Brains tell us what to do and what to say. Human has consciousness and all the consciousness is spontaneous. We are not like the puppet and we are not control by others. Robots are different. They are more like computers. People give order and they execute the orders. Finally yet importantly, robots cannot use their limbs as well as human. Dancing, sporting, or some fine finger movements; those are all the require a high connection between the brains and your bodies. Human body is like a machine that there are no other machines that can be compared with it.
    Not long time ago, I watched a news there is a robot was invented recurrently. This robot is a female figure (at least “she” look like a woman, has long hair and even wear makeup). This robot can communicate with people (answering the question or just chat with others). From the outside, although she was made a human looking, but it is clear that he can see the gap between people. Machine is the machine; it is difficult to distinguish between the appearances of the difference between the two. Even if the robot can walk independently, pace and mode of action will be a bit awkward. The connection between the joints of the robot is a difficult problem to solve. After all, the human bones structure is a very sophisticated project. After she speaks, she is more aware of the difference between man and robot. The voice of the robot sounds like the kind of synthetic sound. The human voice sounds more natural. Just as this article lists several examples of robots, although the manufacturers have the best to put their own robot to the extent of perfection, but there will be a certain degree of flaws.
    Over the years people have been working on robots and wanting to machine robots into machines that are similar to people. However, we are also worried about some problems. For example, in the future robots have their own thinking world will become like, when they will not rule the whole world. The question of some of these columns makes everyone feel uneasy. I do not want to see the arrival of this day. And at least now the robot has not reached the point of comparison with humans.

  19. Adis Hoti September 15, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    In Charley Locke’s article, ‘Robots Aren’t Human. You Only Make Them So,” there are different types of robots and many of them are very realistic. It is important to understand that these machines are not real, they are made to look like humans, but are not humans. There have been many robots that have been created to look all types of ages, act differently, and perform different task. Bots can perform certain tasks that they are programmed to perform but they cannot think like humans, only we give them the power to be labeled as a human. Charley even stats that robots will most likely reach Mars before humans do.
    The first bot that is discussed is NASA’s Valkyrie bot. This bot is more likely to reach Mars before humans do according to Locke. The breakthrough in this technological invention is incredible as we can finally reach Mars. This bot is not human; it cannot produce a family, go to the store, and do humanly things. The only thing this bot is going to do is accomplish a mission, a mission to reach Mars. I will not make this bot human because I do not believe it is human. This bot is a computer, which is programmed to be sent to another planet for observation and information on Mars.
    Affetto is the next bot that is discussed, this bot is a baby bot. The bot does not serve a true purpose but with clothes on the bot looks very realistic. “He was too cute and adorable with clothes on,” according to Aguilera-¬Hellweg. Although the robot looks like a human, it is not. Our imaginations are what make or break these robots. If we think they are real then we will think they are. If we acknowledge that they are fake robots, then we will not view them as humans.
    Robots are now being created to have actual skin. This skin enables these bots to have human like facial expressions. According to Locke, “Texas-based Hanson Robotics calls it Frubber, and it gives Joey Chaos (an android rock star) a range of facial expressions.” Chaos can now whence according to what is said to it. Yes, these bots do have skin, but this should not force us to view them as humans. A human is an organism that is formed after two individuals of the opposite sex mate. That is not how these bots appear; they are constructed in a laboratory.
    The next robot to discuss is a Japanese twin. According to Locke, “Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishi¬guro didn’t stop at creating this gemin¬oid, or twin, of himself.” Hiroshi even gave the robot plastic surgery to maintain the likeliness as he aged. As these robots become more and more human like, I still agree that we make them human. If we view these bots as humans, then that is what they will become. The bond between the two is interesting, as the designer grew attached to the bot. Regardless of how attached we become to these creations, they still will not be considered humans.

  20. Allen Killiebrew October 10, 2017 at 9:17 pm #

    Technology is advancing as I write this reply. Nowadays, it is hard to even keep up with the new technology in the world. If you don’t keep a certain level of interest for the up to date enhancement of the different technology you will fall behind. I have never came across an actual robot that can act as a human, but I am aware of the different robots able to do just that. From this article, I went ahead and researched the most up to date robots in the world today. I came across quite fascinating facts that there indeed are robots across the world actually working with human-like characteristics. I am not too surprised because of the enhancement of technology but I do strongly feel that a robot can never be equal to a human. I feel as though no matter how much any individual tries to make a robot even to a human, they will never succeed. The characteristics of a human body are just too complex to try and “copy”. Yes, we are all aware that we can make a robot identical to a human being but that is not every characteristics identical that is just certain characteristics.

    From researching information about robots, it seems as if the most up to date robots are indeed smart. They are used most to do dangerous work and/or huge time consuming jobs like manufacturing cars. I would say, yes in this era we sort of need the different types of technology which includes the up to date human-like robots but they definitely aren’t ever going to outdo the human race if you ask me and that’s the picture I got from the title of the article. The title definitely guided me in the wrong way and I assumed much more than I should have which made me want to read the article in the first place. “Robots aren’t human, you just make them so” sounds to me like us humans are the ones making these robots into some form of what we are. I am well aware that a lot of technology and brains goes into making robots, but I will always think they are not on the same level as humans until proven otherwise.


  21. Nick Birchby October 20, 2017 at 7:03 pm #

    Robots have been in the imaginations of people for decades. We have dreamed of robots able to live in a house with us, and accomplish tasks for us. There is also a large portion of the population that is terrified of robots. This is why it is important for us to remember that robots are in fact not humans. Thanks to artificial technology, we are able to make robots seem as closely to humans as we have ever been able to before. However, it is important to note that even the smartest robots are not up to par with humans. One thought, is if scientists would be able to ever install a human’s memories or interests into the brain of a robot. This would be revolutionary. Robots can even be given a skin, which looks extremely similar to that of human skin. When these factors are considered, it is very easy to see why people are afraid of these life-like robots coming into our lives. There is fear that these robots could develop to not like humans, and maybe even hurt them. It is also believed that NASA could send human like robots to Mars before sending actual people. This is extremely interesting to me because I really do enjoy learning about outer space. Sending humans to Mars is practically an automatic death at this point in time. We do not have the technology or resources to bring the astronauts back home after the mission is complete. However, if we send a crew of extremely intelligent robots, it may open up opportunities for us to one day send real humans. Instead of fearing these robots, we should be embracing the technological advances that can be achieved by studying them. If we send the robots to NASA, we can use them as practice for returning the real astronauts home, and also use them to collect more information about the planet while they are there. In my head, I picture that in the future many homes across the country will have their own robot. The robot would function basically as the maid of the house. I see this technology turning into a way to make it easier to maintain the household. Both mom and dad are at work, but dinner is still being cooked in the kitchen while they are gone. Maybe the robot helps take care of the kids, or can help with homework. There really is no telling to where this technology could lead us. Interactive robots I believe are the way of the future, and it is the direction we re heading towards. The fear of robots must be removed from society, as they will soon be everywhere. Robots are going to take over the work force, the home, and all aspects of life. They will be able to operate for longer time spans and at a higher level than a human ever could because the robot will never get fatigued. This is why I think that robots could be so useful inside the house for the average family. Many parents work long hours and are away from home all day, it was be extremely useful to have an intelligent robot who was able to accomplish the daily tasks of maintaining the home. Even something as simple as doing the laundry, would make a huge difference in the world. This technology is ever changing, and it will only improve as time continues to pass. When I own my own home, I hope that I can have my very own robot maid.

  22. Daria Di Paolo November 11, 2017 at 9:53 pm #

    While the pictures are, interesting and show how lifelike people can make robots. It shows little to no evidence about how or why people are doing this. As far as we know, people could be making robots human-like, because they just find the idea of them being more human looking neat. We have seen many movies and shows where people are interacting with robots, including those that look close to human. Showing how various people react to them. While the chart might shine some light on how people feel about robots looking more human-like is less creepy, I also feel that the opposite is true. People are creeped out by the idea of something that is not human, is looking like a human.

    As well as the fear of robots taking over people’s jobs. While it has happened already, with technology advancing and making some jobs obsolete, this may cause more fear now from the robots looking human-like. Including things if these robots would act human. Such as the inventor of Bina48, where the inventor put his wife’s memories into the robot. Does this mean that robots now can now have a conscious like that of a human? If so, how far is it for another robot to freely express emotions? Would the robot know that it is a robot or believe they are human? It is not just the physical attributes that we need to look at anymore with these robots. Since anyone can make a piece of machinery look pleasant, but by how human they are while they are operating, when they are ‘thinking’ if a robot could even think in the first place. Since I can make try to make my laptop or phone look like a small cute person, I cannot have conversations with it. Showing the difference between the technology that is currently mass produced, and those that are being invented in research facilities right now.

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