Comic 142 - Hi!

4th Nov 2011, 10:45 PM in Beginnings
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes) Rate this comic
<<First Latest>>

Author Notes:

view 4th Nov 2011, 10:49 PM edit delete
Fun details about robot infants that nobody needs to know:

Infants typically look much more human than "adult" robots specifically so they appeal more to their parents, especially if one of their parents is human. They are also usually the only phase with eyes that blink and close, because infants sleep a lot and it's paranoia-inducing to new parents if they sleep with an unblinking stare.

In one year, he'll be upgraded to the "toddler" body. However, in honesty this body is more toddler-level than infant-level, and the baby will learn to speak and walk in this body.

Infants learn to speak very, very fast. However, robots take even longer than human children to prioritize inputs, understand social subtleties, and so on.


JasperWB 4th Nov 2011, 10:52 PM edit delete reply
Prophecy II complete.

I still think robot children is somewhat odd. It creeps me out that it has to be "designed" not to unnerve its human parent(s). I guess I'm a robophobe or...well not technophobe for sure. Just a robot-not-being-human-ophobobo. Seems so unnecessary. and warped to me.
duLapel 4th Nov 2011, 11:06 PM edit delete reply
Astro Boy lives! All he needs is a pair of red booties.
view 4th Nov 2011, 11:20 PM edit delete reply
What did you think the Japanese-flavored son of a robot Mexican wrestler was going to look like?
Iamari 5th Nov 2011, 4:26 AM edit delete reply
Is it sad that I had the exact same thought duLapel had when I saw the baby? I guess it means I haven't seen many robot babies if he's the 1st that popped into my head.
Guest 5th Nov 2011, 5:17 AM edit delete reply
"view":What did you think the Japanese-flavored son of a robot Mexican wrestler was going to look like?

Astro Boy with a lucha mask... but I think the cyber-boy's Hindi mom prefers to wait until he is into his adolescent phase to dawn the mask... ^_^

Archduke 4th Nov 2011, 11:29 PM edit delete reply
Creepiest. Baby. Ever.
tteclod 5th Nov 2011, 12:30 PM edit delete reply
No diapers. One hopes.

Do they have private parts? If not, how does the infant learn to self-identify gender?
view 5th Nov 2011, 12:58 PM edit delete reply
Robots pretty much accept whatever gender their creator and parents treat them as. This isn't considered oppressive: they just don't have the same set of gender issues that humans do. They have a different, subtler set that don't revolve around which gender they are.

In the old days, some robots frequently switched genders or even had multiple bodies, but this was widely considered harmful both to the robot and the robot's chance of gelling into society, so it really doesn't happen much any more. It's considered weird but acceptable if a robot wants to permanently switch genders, but it's also considered a pretty severe mental shift, kind of like a super-heavy version of what Gretel just did.
jst56strog 5th Nov 2011, 3:34 PM edit delete reply
warm fuzzy feelings. dwaaa.
duLapel 5th Nov 2011, 11:25 PM edit delete reply
One thing B.F. Skinner discovered as he framed Behaviorism is that the behaviors that are shaped by operant conditioning (through experience or intentionally) are part of the natural repertoire that are innately to that animal. For example: a chicken pecks and scratches, a rat scratches and feels with its paws, and a pig roots with its snout, and so Skinner boxes actuators designed for experiments on these animals have peeking disks, depression bars, and lifting bars respectively.

Of course Konrad Lorenz, one of the father’s of Ethology, would have said that this was obvious. Complex behaviors have their roots in the an animal’s collection of fixed action patterns, i.e., instincts. Cognitive plasticity allows modification of those FAPs in interesting ways, such as geese bonding with a human and allowing that man to lead a migration of those geese by flying an ultralight.

Both Behaviorists and Ethologists would agree that humans have and extensive repertoire of innate behaviors that can be best seen in the rawest of forms in infancy and early childhood. Evolutionary psychology have codified these notions into several areas of research and is being used as a bases (in some circles) for starting points in artificial intelligence.

This brings me to the substrate of the mammalian brain. It’s not simple on thing! The basic unit in the mammalian brain is a control ganglion that preprocesses for a more generalized processing ganglion (versus a cephalopod brain which evolved independently from scratch, including its eyes). There are at least FIVE of these units that vary in organization and extent of overlap, e.g., the thalamus-cerebrum and hypothalamus-basal ganglia are well integrated into each other while the pons-cerebellum system is separated and organizationally much different. You can really see this structure in early embryonic development (3 to 5 weeks). The thing is all those fixed action patterns, the plasticity to modify them through learning, and cognition in general are epiphenomena of that marvelous structure. And like the string game cat's cradle, small modifications of size of features or even surface receptors on types of neurons will cause shifts in innate behavioral repertoire. [/nurd_mode]

So what does this have to do with view-bots?
If the QC cyber-brains were patterned after human brains to give them similar human cognition style, then something truly interesting happens. Each brain becomes physically unique, even before the factory default ‘memories’ are programmed in, because of Heisenberg on a microscopic scale and manufacturing flaws on a more macroscopic scale. Thus the way things are learned and the bias for certain kinds of behaviors will occur.

Is there any evidence for this? The robo-child’s gripping behavior.

What I would like to know is if its going to have rooting and suckling behavior of a human infant? If not... why not... those behaviors are both very important to attachment according to John Bowlby...
view 6th Nov 2011, 1:39 AM edit delete reply
Well, I suppose you'll find out next Fridayish.
Guest 6th Nov 2011, 12:49 PM edit delete reply
I dawwwed so hard. "He's holding my finger!"