Need a Friend? How Bout a Robot?

Written by Mike Awada on . Posted in Technology

People have always sought out someone to talk to, someone who listens. In the digital age we live in, it’s becoming harder and harder to find these types of people.

Lucky for us, we’re now able to create robots to have conversations and share intimate details with. The wise-cracking and all-knowing Siri is easing us into a new era of human to robot communication. From this point forward, there’s no turning back. Here are a few examples of how robots may soon replace dogs as man’s best friend.


The robot communication trend started with websites like CleverBot, offering an automated conversationalist. While the interaction is impersonal, you can almost convince yourself that the virtual dialogue you’re having is with a real human being. CleverBot will crack jokes and entertain you for hours on end! CleverBot is the grandfather of where this technology is heading.

Last Moment Robot

From the department of the creepy comes the latest innovation in robofriend: the last moment robot. For those people unable to spend their last moments on Earth with a loved one, here’s a solution. Not only will this artificial friend tenderly stroke your arm, it’ll comfort you with some deep and meaningful words. Besides the awkward silence midway through the arm stroking, last moment robot is just what the doctor ordered.

Telenoid R1

From the same department as above, famed roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro has devised a robofriend called the Telenoid R1. Described as a minimalist human robot, the Telenoid is designed as a robo-medium that will convey motions and speech from a distant loved one. While the Telenoid R1 may look like Casper the friendly ghost, if you close your eyes and imagine hard enough, you may feel like you’re really interacting with someone real.

What Lies Ahead

These are just a few examples out of many where robots are entering our lives and assuming the roles that our friends and relatives used to. We seem to be trending towards a reality where real people are unnecessary; we’re already seeing it in factories and it’s spreading quick.

Just as Siri and CleverBot have begun to do, more and more robots will be programmed to listen and understand our dialogue, and respond with a calcuated response of their own. If Watson can dominate the brightest minds that humans have to offer on Jeopardy, is there anything robots can’t do?

To what extent will robots come to dominate our lives? They’ve already taken over our grocery store checkouts. Will robots in the future work in our call centers? Will they be our therapists? What will the lack of a human element mean long term?



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