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Teaching robots body language offers common ground for humans and machines


Having in-person observed how swiftly/smoothly industrial robots move, I can tell you that I was concurrently transfixed by their beauty and having to actively fight the lizard-brain impulses the author notes: “Danger, danger!” they say. “You need to get the fuck away… now .”

It’s not that I think my lizard brain even saw the robots as predatory (as the author suggests). I suspect that part of my brain simply saw the industrial robots as better. But better in the kind of untouchable way that makes one pause before entering a given environment. Like when a small child stops before entering a room of teens or adults. There’s a moment of… I’m not sure I should be here.

All this is by way of my suggesting that part of what tweaks people about robots is the perfection of movement, and that perhaps more imperfection is needed, at least when you’re talking about robots who are good sized. When I see my housecat’s incredible grace and speed, it amuses and enchants me. But if I were sitting next to (sans cage) an equally graceful and speedy big cat, I’d likely be falling to pieces completely.