I am going to make a geek-confession, I love robots. When my friend directed me to a messageboard posting about a robot study in New York City, my heart skipped a beat. Tweenbots are ” human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter.” They were created by Kacie Kinzer for the ITP program at NYU. According to Kinzer:
“I wondered: could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself? To answer these questions, I built robots.”
New Yorkers (New York City) are notorious for their “you’re on your own, get out of my way” attitude, but from this study one can see that some people are still willing to take their iPod earbuds out and interact:
Checkout these empathetic New Yorkers helping the lost little tweenbot
The tweenbot created a powerful network that united New Yorkers to help it along the way. Those who came in contact with the robot during its struggle were willing to help it reach its goal (getting to the designated destination noted on the flag). Clearly, humans today feel more connected with technology than ever before. Should we expect this with human to human interaction or, did the passerby’s only help because they were curious about the lost little tweenbot in the big city.
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