Social Robots: New Publication on Medium

Last week I was at SpeechTek 2016 and I participated on a panel about the social impacts of conversing robots. It was a great experience and the panel started an interesting discussion that still continues.

Social RobotsI was inspired to start a publication on the topic of Social Robots on Medium.

Why Medium? Medium seems to be getting a lot of activity these days and some of my favorite stories are posted there, like the articles written as part of the Chatbots Magazine.

I’ve very interested in what I’ll call the “chatbot movement” and I write a lot about conversational UIs and conversational commerce at Opus Research. But I’m even more interested in voice interactive devices and the opportunities they present.

The first article I’ve posted in the Social Robots publication is called Shooting the Breeze About Social Robots.  I try to share some of the highlights from the SpeechTek keynote panel discussion, which included Peter Krogh of Jibo and Leor Grebler of UCIC.

Please have a look at the article and, if you feel so inclined, share it. I’d like to get others to contribute to the publication, so if you’re interested in the social robots topic, reach out to me via your favorite channel and let’s talk!




One thought on “Social Robots: New Publication on Medium

  1. I suppose it has to come to this. The fact that so many young people would rather text or use other apps rather than talk face to face is reason for concern. But now the idea of having a personal robot whose sole function is to keep one company is beyond concern. Instead of two lovers sitting side by side and texting each other we now have two lovers sitting side by side and listening to their personal chatbots conversing.

    So much of technology is created on the supposition that the world is a clean and antiseptic place. The reality is that the world is a very muddy and chaotic place. If one wanted to teach social conversion skills, public speaking skills, and even rhetoric skills, then a chatbot would be a good way to reinforce such skills. Real humans would be better but at least a chatbot can be very patient whereas humans tend to lack that characteristic when teaching.

    I’ve followed and been in technology since the late sixties so I have seen quite a stream of new “things” come into being. The portable transistor radio was quite the luxury when I was a teen. Imagine being able to take your radio station with you. Now imagine having a machine that pretends its human and talks with you. There never was a real need for that transistor radio and I don’t think there is any real need for a chatbot. Both are luxury items in life than have a downside their inventors always fail to see. Both are distractions from real life, one the greater distraction.

    But perhaps the most telling is the ability of the manufacturer to use information gleaned from the chatbots interaction for use against those who interact with it. Just as we see Facebook has the ability and does use it to listen in on conversations of their subscribers, collect marketing data, shape news and information to subvert reality, some of which is at least nominally against the law, so you want to add another layer of the nanny state and police state. Of course your motives are good. You wish to preserve our individual liberties. Yet technology only increases the opportunities for greater control by a fascist government. Already we are seeing that law enforcement can search the cell phone provider records to trace your movements without obtaining a search warrant. Providers can and do sell such data to marketing firms without so much as a by your leave. So tell me, what is to prevent eavesdropping on your personal conversations with a chatbot by any interested party without your permission? Technology is not the great savior of mankind, it destroys more than it saves.

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