Over the past two decades, films and shows like Westworld, Prometheus, and Ex Machina have explored sentient characters that are alarmingly indistinguishable from their human counterparts, along with formless, all-encompassing consciousness and deep learning machines.
A world-renowned roboticist at SoftBank Robotics, Angelica Lim, said, “I kind of get angry at that stereotype of the father figure of A.I., especially because it’s a guy. It’s so false.”
“There’s a common platform called Robot Operating System, or ROS. It’s a way for roboticists to share software with each other to build all of these different functionalities for their robots, whether they’re coming from India or Europe or Japan,” Lim continued.
“People are contributing this open-source software to other artificial intelligent robots to allow robots to navigate in different environments and be able to detect obstacles. It’s coming from thousands of people, so it’s most certainly not one person building robots and A.I. It’s a community. There are so many different specialties that have to go into robotics. From electrical engineers to mechanical engineers, to firmware engineers, low-level and high-level software engineers, even designers, artists, linguists, and animators are all working to build these machines.”
Ryan Wu, CMO of QIHAN Technology, which was awarded as one of the Top 10 APAC Robotic Process Automation Companies 2017 because of its Sanbot intelligent robot, claimed that, “Sanbot is the only social robot with centralized management capabilities and therefore opens the door to a world of immense possibilities.”
In film, humans and robots appear to fluidly walk and work among one another when in reality most robots are learning to take their first awkward baby steps.
“On TV you see robots just walking around interacting with people like you normally would. Sometimes robots can’t tell it’s a human, they can’t see their face. They’re just not very smart yet. On TV there are these interesting demos, but most of the time they are controlled by humans. It’s almost like a trick, and it’s giving an impression that’s not quite there,” said Lim.
“Humanoid service robots are becoming more common and more diverse. They will soon become a common form of interface to A.I. and will be refined into a new kind of computer animation, like computer animation for movies, with the difference of being physically embodied,” said David Hanson, Founder and CEO of Hanson Robotics Limited.
Has the film industry hit the ceiling regarding their portrayal of artificial intelligence, robotics and humanoids? Is the human race ready to decide such matters regarding the responsibility and issues that such a scientific, progressive undertaking involves? For now, we will have to find contentment while still working out the glitches with Siri and Alexa. While the films we love may inspire or predict such challenges, it looks like we still have a few reels of our own left in which to figure that out.