The thing that makes us unique is our complexity. But not complexity in some generic sense. Nature is rife with complexity. What makes us special is the complexity of our brains.
Over the past century, we’ve been to the moon, we’ve split the atom, we’ve sequenced the human genome, but were still only at the very beginning of our understanding of the human brain. This is one of the great challenges that we face. If we can understand the brain, we can develop better treatments for brain disorders, we can design better robots, better computers, and ultimately we can better understand ourselves.
Instead of having our children become consumers of robotics technology, consumers of products, we’d have to train them to be producers, to realize that they can use robotic technologies to build something with their intuition, their creativity, and their sense of purpose, that has meaning to them. Then we’d have a technologically fluent society.
The idea of putting a robot simulator inside a robot, well, it’s not a new idea but it’s tricky and very few people have pulled it off. In fact, it takes a bit of getting your head round. The robot needs to have, inside itself, a simulation of itself and its environment, and others in its environment. And running in real-time as well.
What’s really new about robots is that they’re going to be everywhere. And it’s also nothing new that we can emotionally relate to objects. People have always had the tendency to fall in love with cars and gadgets and stuffed animals. But the new thing about robots is what we’re seeing is this effect tends to be more intense.