Robot Bina48 gets interviewed by the New York Times

by Mark R

When I first saw this picture, I thought it was a female version of Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite, but with a blond wig. It is actually a robot.

Needless to say, it could “make your wildest dreams come true” about sentient robots. This is Bina48, a robot that is not at MIT or some major university, but the Terasem Movement Foundation in some small town in Bristol, Vermont.

I have included a video of the interview after the jump so you can see the “Interview with a Robot” for yourself. As you might have guessed, Bina48 did not understand some of the questions.

In fact, when the reporter mentioned “cool”, Bina 48 thought that she was referring to the weather or sickness. Robot misunderstandings like that are fodder for really bad science fiction.

As for Bina48’s appearance, that is modeled after Bina (Martine) Rothblatt, and she apparently spent a lot of time with this project. The robot’s “mental programming” is derived from her, and Bina48 seems to want to know more of the human Bina.

Okay, do we want to speculate where this is going? Do I even need to give you the whole: “should we make robots more human” essay? All I can tell you is that Bina48 could be the breakthrough that we have been waiting for, because it certainly is more advanced then a chatbot.


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