In what may be described as a plot somewhere in between Futurama and Weird Science, Google has been awarded a patent for a robot whose personality can be anything from a celebrity to your deceased loved one.
The cloud-based robot will be personality driven, you see, with numerous options as to how it is created.
This is a reflection of an industry that is consistently aiming for bigger and better things, without necessarily making it to each goal.
For example only this week we reported three genius pieces of robotics from Festo, which flew, worked together, self charged and could pick up a multitude of devices.
The incorporation of various devices like these will one day, presumably, create an advanced, robotic friend for us.
Who better to match a personality?
And Google’s patent looks to capitalise on what the company does best, that is knowing its customers incredibly well.
That’s because we are so engrossed with our online lives, garnering mounds and mounds of personal data for the search giant to digest and react to – our shopping habits, our film favourites, what music we like and what makes us angry.
Google’s patent allows the robot react to your facial expressions and act accordingly or, somewhat worryingly, monitor your digital profiles to establish a personality that best suits you.
“The user-profile may be linked to other profiles that the user has created, as on social networking sites, such that the robot can access up-to-date and accurate information regarding the user," reads the patent.
“The user-profile may include information corresponding to the user's personality, history, lifestyle, preferences, and/or predispositions. The robot may use such information when interacting with the user.”
By the looks of the patent you can choose a happy robot, a grim one, one that doesn’t trust you, whatever you want.
A Woody Allen robot, that's right
It can be tweaked from existing templates, “to provide states or moods representing transitory conditions of happiness, fear, surprise, perplexion (e.g., the Woody Allen robot), thoughtfulness, derision (e.g., the Rodney Dangerfield robot), and so forth.”
It can take on the personality of real-world people, celebrities and dead loved ones. Who wouldn’t want a robot Barack Obama following you around the house while you did your chores, while a robot grandma talks incoherently at the wall.
Although copyright laws will surely be dragged into the limelight. Bruce Lee's estate, for example, has just said it plans to fight efforts to digitally recreate the martial artist for an upcoming movie.
What’s better, or worse, your robot can never die. You store its personality in the cloud and, should a Johnny Five fate befall your electronic friend, you just load it into a new one.
Data security will be an absolute minefield if these robots come to pass, but hey, that hasn’t stopped major internet businesses in the past!
Robot and human finger image via Shutterstock