Friday, June 17, 2011

Robodramatix Video Up!

The long-awaited (by me, anyway) edited video of the presentation Heather Knight and I gave at the TEDxCMU conference this year has been posted on YouTube. Thanks, James Pan and the rest of the TEDxCMU crew. Planning is already heavily underway for next year's conference.

When I was a kid, hearing yourself on tape was always embarrassing and off-putting. Now, seeing myself on digital video - jeez. Is my head really that big? Anyway, I know this presentation is a little bit awkward and maybe under-rehearsed, although both Heather and Data are so magnetic (literally, in Data's case) that it hardly seems to matter much, at least to that audience. But the point is that Data becomes more sophisticated each time he performs. I think you can perceive a lot of development since his debut with TED WOMEN in "Silicon-Based Comedy" a few years ago. Of course, he's been working with Matt Gray, a superb acting teacher of robots as well as humans. And I'll claim to have had a hand in this from the point of view of roboturgy - the "Hath Not a Robot Video Cameras?" speech from The Merchant of Virus by W(i)11-i/am Shakesbot, and perhaps the idea that Data may one day become the new prophet of Prometheus.

The point is that the development of Social Robotics is made of these building blocks - interactions between humans and robots that are analyzed by roboticists like Heather to make one further iteration forward towards increasing sophistication and compatibility. I am convinced now that performance theory is going to be of greater importance as the field develops, and weirdos like me are going to have a role to play, pardon the pun. Social intelligence is the reason why human cognition is so much more advanced over the other primates, and it is heavily imbricated with performance and mimesis. Machine intelligence will have to develop similarly; I'm proud and excited to be involved with this.

Anyway, enjoy!

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