Thursday, December 13, 2007

Asimo Mugged in Sydney!;-)

Having fun with Asimo



Darling Harbour waters looked like frosted glass beneath a gray sky. Hidden behind a palm grove were flashy Honda cars daisy-petalled around a huge, red tent. Sigh of relief, we found our quarry. Cold wind and slight drizzle restricted movements in my joints. Oh humans, how fragile we are...so goes Sting. Holy marrow, how long do we have to stand up in queue?


We're out to see Asimo "in person"! Good on Honda. The car company is really out to prove something. Maybe to show world its peak of robotics achievement unequalled anywhere in the world. Mascot robot squeaked in Sydney to impress men and boys (and girls) in an entertaining public relations event.


Perhaps building a humanoid was just a challenge for engineers for it is common knowledge: robots don't have to assume a human-like form to get on with their manufacturing, painting, bolting and screwing jobs, performing numerous and repetitive tasks that could have killed human workers of boredom and repetitive strain injuries. Life's precious and so leave it to robots to do dirty job; and they are quite dispensable, too (with due respect) despite being so expensive to build. Take for example probing robots that poke open suspicious looking parcels left in shopping malls; or camera-robots that get into burning houses or military assaults to save lives and property.


But there's Asimo, Satchmo! Yo' wanna see mo'? Check out video below, and lo, locomotive Asimo dancing like loco. Also still shot spoofs with a Filipino bent (above still; find Asimo's answer towards end of video:-)





I've known Asimo as a "little boy" watching Beyond 2000 tv programs back in late 90's. He was just a fumbling android with wires and pulleys and often fell flat on his face. But people do change;-) Now Asimo can move so smoothly and quietly (and can climb up and down stairs!) that kids have a hard time convincing themselves there's no human being inside that hard-shelled space suit. However gadgety clunks and whirrs are gone, no blinking lights and no "funny" moves as Asimo is precisimo, accurate to the last click. Great, but it'd be hard to delete R2D2's bells and whistles antics from our minds.

I guess Honda is just giving us a preview of things to come: Fully functional robots to serve man and to assist him to overcome his frailties. Asimo? Ah see mo' for the future, personal robots with little USB eyes, blue-tooth smile and a great ass..imo;-) Asimo nurses? Asimo dance tutors? Asimo ski instructor? Far out! I think asimok too much;-) Well as long as Asimo toes Asimov's line (referring to Isaac Asimov's laws of robotics*), we'll be fine.

Asimo
partner? Ugh, I'll stick to flesh and bones for a while:)

(Hey Asimo, get me a tinnie 'ere ol' matey!;-)

*The 3 laws of robotics are:

1. a robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. a robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the first law.
3. a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second law.


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