CES is a huge convention and some companies (both big and small) show off a bunch of tech that's years and years away from being a reality. Heck, some tech shown at CES isn't ever going to come to market. But one thing that CES has a lot of right now is robots.
We're obsessed with robots and AI machines, and why wouldn't we be? Don't we all want a really cool human-like robot that can help us with daily tasks? Well, the problem with that is robots in their current state are creepy — super creepy. Here's are just a few of the creepy robots you can find at CES this year.
While the Promobot V.4 isn't them ost creepy robot, it does has a certain creep factor that reminds me of HAL 900 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It doesn't look particularly creepy — although the eyes are somewhat unsettling — but the extremely robotic voice mixed with the way the Promobot V.4 tries to "sound cool" gives me the heebie-jeebies.
The good news is the Promobot isn't that advanced yet. Here's a few of the things it can do right now:
_ Recognize and remember a person - Recognize speech - Perform voice commands - Move along a given trajectory/route - Print photos - Remember everything that it is told and provide a detailed analytical report
The scariest part of the Promobot V.4 is likely the fact that its' being marketed as a way to reduce labor costs and "Improve the mood and loyalty of the customers". I think I speak for most people when I say, please keep my human interactions human, thank you.
This is where the real nightmare fuel starts to come into play. The Robo-C is a human-like robot that has a face — literally almost any face you want.
Want to order the Robo-C that looks like you? Just upload 19 images of yourself from different angles at their website and you can! Maybe you want a Robot that looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger — they have one of those too! You can even see a picture of how these creep robots are made (see below) and if that doesn't keep you up at night, likely nothing will.
The good news is the Robo-C is primarily meant as a service robot for answering questions and providing data (luckily), thus only the face you're recreating as part of the machine is needed. Even though it's not really meant for home use at all, I'm still saying if you woke up to a robot replica of yourself in your kitchen, you would have more than a few questions.
Okay, I admit this robot isn't nearly as creepy as the first two, in fact, you could probably make an argument that it's cute.
The Tombot is a robotic emotional support dog, meant for a variety of practical uses such as treating loneliness and depression (particularly in seniors) for people who may not be able to take care of the needs of a real support animal. These types of robots have a real sense of practically use that I can get behind; however, it's still a little creepy.
Could you imagine going over to your friend's house and seeing the "Dog" laying on the couch? At first glance, seeing a very realistic but very stiff dog would immediately make me think the dog has died — which would give me an insane amount of anxiety. Of course, when it starts moving — very robotic like — I may want to run away from it, so I'm conflicted on the Tombot. I'm happy it exists but I'm not sure I want one near me.
Jokes aside, CES is full of wacky, weird, and cool tech
I certainly love poking fun at some of the tech that comes out of CES, and while these are a bit creepy, robots like these are certainly going to become more prevalent in the years to come.
I'm super glad that a ton of smart people (smarter than me) are making some awesome robots to solve the world's problems, but I just long for the day that seeing these robots didn't make me want to run in the other direction.
Seen other creepy tech at CES?
Share your discovery with everyone. Let us know in the comments below!
Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.
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