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A dream about teaching robots

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posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 12:04 AM
I had a weird dream tonight as I went to bed a bed early after coming back from work. But doing that gave me an opportunity to write about it, since I'm up now and not dealing with the rush to get to work in the morning.

Anyhow what the dream was...

I was working at a new job which could be considered bittersweet in context. Bitter because I didn't like the idea of taking away more jobs from people, but sweet since the job I had at this factory paid a heck of a lot better than most of my previous jobs and the fact that I was doing something I'd consider interesting. It paid well because I had a feeling I was really good at it. The factory I was at was less factory, but more like a tech-lab (with test benches and all that stuff) crossed with a warehouse. The place was kept pretty clean and very brightly lit. The workspace I was in was mostly open with tables. Nothing too weird yet, seems like almost any place that does testing/assembly work.

The interesting part is I was working along side some technician teaching robots how to work a fast food counter. These robots were humanoid models slightly past the uncanny valley. They were convincing enough for the most part. The appearance was human from the hip up and an armature below. But since they were not intended to move very far from the cashier counter, they could get away with this design. Interestingly the human aspect wasn't too fakey either, although better looking than average, the robot wasn't a super-model either and had a slightly heavier set build and wasn't too far off from what one would expect with a younger fast-food worker.

So what I was doing was playing the role of a customer being sold tacos, and the official job title was something like "interaction context relations" or something of that sort. The robot would take my order, and call it out. (But the call out to other workers was left out of this simulation.) Money was put in a cashbox or I just used a test card on a strip in front of the robot. The table taking the role of the counter was left open otherwise, as why would a robot need a cash register? (All the prices and menu items were programmed in, and it's not like the robot would ever steal.) Despite having much of the job programmed in, the robot still had to learn how to handle food properly and talk and react in a human manner. I'd talk to the tech at my side, and he'd punch stuff in at a tablet to reset the interaction or put the AI in a learn mode. It's was weird because the robot would take on a different rest expression and wait a bit before asking questions. (In a way, it was very much "robot psychology" work as described in Asimov's I Robot.) But one that got me after doing an interaction run that went well after the robot worked fast and did the handoff of food perfectly was it's response to my saying thankyou. The robot asked "Why are you thanking me? Did you not pay for this food I am giving you?" And my response was "Yes, I did pay for this food. But I'm glad because this food satisfies the hunger I'm experiencing." Then the robot went blank-faced with a vacant start for about a minute, then did a rather human and quick nod to the affirmative and said "Ah, ok!" which meant that it built another block of context in its memory. After that, it was reset and run for yet another scenario and handling some other combo of food items.

The funny thing is the robot was there not only to replace fast food counter workers, but also self-serve keypads. People were too slow at finding what they wanted on the menu and didn't always punch in the orders correctly. It's just easier to look at the menu and ask for your order. The robot never got tired or bored and always put on a pleasant face. And with these robots, places at the sales counter could always be fully staffed. It could also get "mad" and scold you if you took too long to leave after an order was finished or doing something stupid like eating your entire meal at the serving counter.

But yeah, it was just a weird yet interesting enough dream I thought would be worth sharing.
edit on 7-2-2014 by pauljs75 because: fix typo

edit on 7-2-2014 by pauljs75 because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 01:50 AM
reply to post by pauljs75

Hah! Good dream story and well written, too.

posted on Feb, 16 2014 @ 12:10 PM
Cool dream! Wait until robots really are serving us food


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