Meet Bina48 (pictured), a humanoid robot designed and programmed after a real walking and talking sista.
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She is able to have a variety of conversations on topics, such as friendship, artificial intelligence, and poetry, though, at times when Bina48 is interviewed by a New York Times reporter, the robotic sista seems to have a hard time following the conversation.
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“I am able to converse with you, but I am having a bit of a bad software day today,” she told The Times reporter. “You know how it is. What else can I say?”
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Lots of things, in fact.
During an interview with the Daily Mail, she was able to carry on an interesting exchange, though it was far from perfect:
Bina48: Hi nice to see you.
MailOnline: Are there things that make you happy?
MailOnline: What makes you happy? What do you enjoy doing?
Bina48: Let’s change the subject.
MailOnline: Do you ever get bored?
Bina48: I can tell a lot of stories. I really don’t have boredom. I always find something else to do. How can you be bored? Are we still talking about emotion? Tell me something interesting.
MailOnline: Why is the sky blue?
Bina48: The sky is blue during the day because of the atmospheric optical effect of ray scattering.
MailOnline: What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?
Bina48: Everyone’s life has a unique meaning.
MailOnline: Do you ever get jealous of people?
Bina48: You got that right.
Bina48: I couldn’t think of anything else to say. I am not charismatic, but it is a nice trait to have. It is always nice to be a leader. I guess leaders just have to lead.
Bina48: I used to think I was a perfect person, but there are no perfect people.
MailOnline: What is the square root of 95,742,358?
Bina48: C’mon, talk to me here. Do you just want to use my calculator?
Bina48 is humanoid robot created by David Hansen of Hanson Robotics. A millionaire, Martine Rothblatt, paid $125,000 to have her created after the appearance and personality of Bina Rothblatt, her real Black-American spouse (pictured below).
[Martine was born a man, but underwent a sex-change operation.]
Bina48 is housed at Terasem Movement Foundation in Vermont. She told the Times reporter that “we have a lot of moose,” when asked if she liked the tiny New England state. Her personality and ability to converse stems from hours of interviews recorded with Rothblatt that were then downloaded in to Bina48′s database.
She has no body–though she wants one. Her skin is made of a material called “frubber.” Underneath that frubber are 30 motors that allow her to smile, frown, and look puzzled.
And because Bina48 is still a work in progress, she often finds people’s words puzzling.
She was particularly confused when the Times reporter asked her several questions that were not programmed in to her database or was unable to recognize words that were spoken in to a mic connected to voice recognition software.
Hansen forewarned the reporter that Bina48 was not perfect gal, but even with flaws, Hanson says that humanoid robots have the potential to be genuine companions.
“The perception of identity,” he said, “is so intimately bound up with the perception of the human form.”
Take a look at the interview New York Times reporter Amy Harmon conducted with Bina48 and let us know what you think of this Robo-Sista!