There are times when I fear Apple is about to miss the next great thing. Sure, point and click has brought personal computing to a billion people. Yes, the touch interface brought computing a few billion more.
What’s the next great thing? Siri? Hardly, although that’s a start in the right direction. Siri is a voice tied to a database of information and a growing list of semi-useful commands. But Siri is headless. The next great thing will be a Siri-like human-like interface tied to a robot.
3 Laws Of Robotics
Where Apple is missing the future is where Apple actually lives. Hardware integrated with software. Sony, Asus, and other forward thinking technology companies are working to humanize their electronic creations with physical movements tied to voice controls and responses.
Does the Asus Zenbo remind you of anything?
Zenbo looks like E.T. and a very friendly device, though personal interaction and usability may not match all that Siri can do, this is exactly the type of device (Asus say $599) that could gain favor with those of the human persuasion.
Sony’s QRIO is similar, and there is little question that humans are not afraid of what could potentially be their new servants or overlords.
Physical robots will need to communicate with humans on a number of levels, starting first with responses to basic queries, but also physical interaction.
Where is Apple’s QRIO or Zenbo?
Siri is headless and by the end of 2016 will have advanced functionality, more capability, but remain just a voice that comes out of other Appel devices; iPhone, iPad, Watch, and Mac. Apple is a hardware company so where is the hardware that will personify Siri and her or his descendants?
Will Apple attempt to make the artificial intelligent leap and make Siri perform as a sentient creature? If so, will the laws Apple supplies to Siri be reminiscent of Issac Asimov’s, ‘I, Robot’ and the Three Laws of Robotics?
- 1: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm;
- 2: A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law;
- 3: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
The add-on law that scares me is this one:
- The Zeroth Law: A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.”
That sounds like the gateway to having robot overlords rule the earth and subjugate all of mankind– for our own protection from ourselves.
Regardless, Apple’s Siri is a step in the direction of future robotics but Siri is headless; a voice from a computer, smartphone, or tablet that interacts well with humans, but has no physical personification, and that seems strange given that Apple is a hardware company.