IVP - Strangely Dim - If You're Sad and You Know It, Find a Robot?

March 27, 2008

If You're Sad and You Know It, Find a Robot?

A story on the news last week struck me as extraordinarily ironic. A conference in Amsterdam featured robots--all made from Lego robotics sets--created for a contest to "show how humans can live better with robots," as reporter Jeremy Hubbard stated it. Many of the robots were centered around the idea of emotions; one in particular has, among other features, movable eyebrows and is supposed to help children learn to express and deal with fears.

I didn't need a robot to help me express what I felt after seeing the story: namely, sadness and even some fear. While I realize not everyone is able to express their emotions easily or in healthy ways, are we really at a place where we need robots--machines incapable of actually feeling anything--to teach us and our children how to do it? I hope the only way these emotion-portraying robots help us is to perhaps highlight the places we're failing at human connection and authenticity, and spur us to action.

Posted by Lisa Rieck at March 27, 2008 2:10 PM Bookmark and Share


I would like to buy the robot that can and will cook/clean in hopes that it will encourage me to do the same.

Comment by: Dan at March 27, 2008 3:03 PM

I suppose it might distract children from their anger, or whatever, the first time or two. Probably the parents of children needing such a thing wouldn't buy it anyway!

Comment by: Gran at March 30, 2008 3:03 PM

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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