A new project called Raising Robotic Natives is looking to integrate robots into the lives of children, says Fast Company reporter Adele Peters. As part of the project, four designers create four kid-friendly experimental products that could influence the way children think about automated machines.
The project seeks to raise "robot natives" who are comfortable in world with the presence of robots. Sounds like the plot of The Terminator, but the minds behind the project are hoping it will steer artificial intelligence in a productive direction.
"We wanted to raise questions about robotic natives before they actually appear," says German interaction design Stephan Bogner. "I believe that a lot of parents would have liked to know what's coming," he says of today's tech-obsessed youth. "They would have been able to prepare for that situation. Right now they can hardly keep pace with their children and technology, but ideally they’d be able to teach and guide their children."
The project created kid-friendly artificial intelligence products such as a robotic nurse that gives a baby a bottle, or a robot covered in a dragon costume to make it seem more appealing and toy-like.
Eventually, the designers think that robotic natives will have different attitudes about living with robots. "Currently people are still afraid of a dystopian robot future," Bogner says. "But once we get accustomed to them and also used to the comfort they bring with them, that attitude will change quickly. We’re not saying that the horror scenarios from the movies are wrong, and at the same time, we don’t believe in utopian robotics stories. The reality will be somewhere in between."