🐛 the friendliest robot in the world, pt1

We have built the friendliest robot in the world, and we need your support to make more of them.

In all the craze and frenzy, take a minute just for fun and google “friendliest robot in the world”. Don’t know what you will be seeing, but for me the results are remarkable, both in gem and dire. Let’s review this. What got me to this, is that I think with flatcat we have created

1/ the friendliest robot on the planet (frop)

It might be creepy to some but it is just friendly nonetheless, no matter. To celebrate, let’s come up with an appropriate retronym for flatcat, for example

2/ flatcat, friendliest live adaptive technology cuddly auto telic

Either way I needed to research existing claims in direction of “friendliest robot”. And what I get is essentially this: various lists of “top 12” and “most advanced” hard-shell social or humanoid robots exempt the revered Paro; direct references to Blue, Pepper, and Kuri; and one IEEEspectrum article.

What is friendliness and affection without touch as a mode of communication? From all I can see, none of these robots is able to actually touch a human person. If they are, no one wants to be touched by them. So they might be “able” to touch a human but that might not feel so good for the human. flatcat communicates with people only by touch, nothing else.

What caught my eye on the other hand immediately is Gakutensoku, 學天則, which is Japanese for “learning from the laws of nature” or when taken as Chinese through deepl.com, “Learning the Rules of Heaven”. Aha 🙂

3/ Gakutensoku

Gakutensoku was a very early robot design that considered friendliness on a fundamental level, done by biologist Makoto Nishimura, who was motivated by his shock from seeing Karel Capek’s theater play “Rossum’s Universal Robots”. Gakutensoku appears to have been Japan’s first functional robot ever, as a side effect.

The robot he wanted to build would celebrate nature and humanity, and rather than a slave, it would be a friend, and even an inspirational model, to people.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gakutensoku

To summarize these results, friendly robots are few because somehow no one is incentivized to make them. If they are made, friendly companionship is somewhat misunderstood through the severe disconnection of mainstream engineering from simple facts of human psychology. And, there is a very early precedent, which is coming from a clearly bio-inspired thinking.

For us, friendly robots are just the answer, and we do think that friendly adaptive technology makes a difference for people now, and will do so even more down the road if they are wild and friendly. To continue this mission, we need your support and are looking for team members and funding. Give us a shout, spread the word!

Learning the rules of heaven.

Sources

Oswald Berthold
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