As Soon As Google Interfaces With My Toaster, We’re All Dead…

08Nov11

Dear Readers,

For those of you who have followed this blog for some time, you are probably aware that I am known around my college as Old Lady. “Why is that?”, you ask? It may be for the simple reason that I prefer Green Tea to coffee; perhaps it’s the fact that I usually prefer reading scary stories (like Anne’s) in actual books as opposed to those on my eReader, or maybe even because I use words like “moxie” (see paragraph on Leo Plass in this post).

Either way, this “old lady” decided to find out what’s new in the world of technology and came across some both stunning and disturbing videos that I decided to share with those in my office. Upon watching them, one of my colleagues responded by saying that Google is basically equivalent in power to The Terminator and as soon as it’s able to interface with his toaster, we’re all dead.

I agreed.

And you thought he was just a figment of science-fiction imagination...

Once you finish this post, you, too, will agree, and you’ll wish that you could go back to the good ol’ days before you ever knew this stuff existed…well, that or you will want to become one of the developers. I don’t know.

So, friends, I give you: “As Soon As Google Interfaces With My Toaster, We’re All Dead…” (or “The Creepiest Things I’ve Ever Seen in My Life” – not sure which title is more accurate).

1 ) Big Dog

This robot is both amazing and creepy for the exact same reasons. It is able to walk over any terrain, it can regain its balance (even if it has been kicked), and can walk on icy pavement much better than I can. The technology behind this robot, courtesy of Boston Dynamics, is unbelievable…it also freaks me out because if it comes at me some day, I want to be able to kick it over and then outrun it on ice! Imagine seeing this thing in the woods…

2 ) Shape-Shifting Robot Blob

Just the name alone creeps me out. I mean, the words “robot” and “blob” should never be in the same sentence, unless the sentence reads, “Hey…we should never make a robot blob”. This thing looks like a brain and can expand and deflate at will, and has the ability to move itself into small spaces. Yeah, ’cause that’s what I want…a robot who can think for itself, shape-shifting it’s brain-like blobby self under my doorway and wandering around my house.

The first part of this video describes how the robot blob actually works, but if you just want to see it in action, watch the clip from 1:50 on.

3 ) PetMan

As if Big Dog wasn’t enough, the good people of Boston Dynamics decided to also bring us PetMan. Now, they tell you that he it he it (is it an “it” or a “he”??) was developed to “test special clothing used by US Military personnel”, but you just watch this video and try to convince me of that – it looks like The Terminator…with a red light bulb for a head (I guess they thought adding a head to it would up the ante of the creepiness factor. I’ve got news for you, Boston Dynamics…too late! It’s already freaky.

I mean, if this thing decides to turn on you one day, there’s no way you’ll be able to out-run or out-smart it. Also, I’m pretty sure it’s made of Adamantium, so it’ll be like trying to fight off Wolverine (<— comics reference especially for you, Cocca).

4 ) A Mind-Reading Headset

Have you ever been playing your XBox or your PS3 and thought to yourself, “Self…this is just too much work. Hitting all of these buttons exerts far too much energy. I wish that there was a way I could just sit on my couch, stare at my screen, and control this game with my mind”? Well, good news. Now you can!

Is there anyone else out there who thinks that the last thing we need to give these computers is access to our brains? No? Just me, then?

5 ) Hatsune Miku

To be honest, this one doesn’t really creep me out, but I do think it’s bizarre. Hatsune Miku is 5ft 2, looks to be about 16 years of age, and plays sold-out concerts. She is one of Japan’s top-selling entertainers. She sings, she dances, and she’s just so darn cute…all looking like an anime character and stuff. Oh wait…did I forget to mention that she’s a hologram? And that she sings via software from Vocaloid?

Thank you Crypton Future Media!

6 ) Lockheed Martin HULC Exoskeleton

The whole purpose of this exoskeleton is to “ease a soldier’s load by temporarily turning him into a robot”. Am I the only one who sees a problem with that sentence?

Evidently, Iron Man is real…

7 ) RIBA – The Teddy Bear Robo-Nurse

I have to applaud Toyota Motor Corp. on its ingenuity and forward-thinking. Clearly, the population of Japan has exploded and there is a limited number of people able to or willing to take care of the nation’s elderly. Toyota has a cure-all for this problem…the robo-nurse. The developers state that they designed the robot to resemble a teddy bear so it would be non-threatening. Really. Because if I woke up in the middle of the night and saw that face in my room, I would freak out and hit it with a bat until that smile-moustache-thingy on its face was completely demolished.

This robot can pick up a human being and move it.

I find that very threatening. Very threatening, indeed.

8 ) Robot Girlfriend

And now, I give you the piΓ¨ce de rΓ©sistance in creepy robotics…the Robot Girlfriend. She is designed to smile at you, converse with you, laugh at all of your lame jokes, and…oh yeah…blink. Apparently, if a robot doesn’t blink, it freaks people out a little too much; they find it extremely uncanny. So, this one has been programmed to blink so as not to alarm you.

As soon as I got to 1:33 in the video, I knew that my day was ruined. I’m trying to remember a time in my life before I saw a robots eyes shift around like that…and I can’t. It’s all I can think of now.

I miss the days of Green Tea, using words like “moxie” and “huzzah” (though I’m not the only one – thank you Den!), and assuring myself that robots will never take over the world. I have no doubt that Google is interfacing with my toaster this very minute…

Do you find these videos disturbing or amazing?

Are you excited about the leaps that technology is making?

Do you think companies should take a step back and evaluate what they’re doing before moving forward even more so?

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56 Responses to “As Soon As Google Interfaces With My Toaster, We’re All Dead…”

  1. That Boston Dynamics thing is absolutely terrifying.

    Also: I’m Chris Cocca, and I approve that comic book reference.

    • It terrified me too. I won’t be able to sleep tonight.

      Also: I knew you would.

  2. Thank you so much for the mention and link!

    Technology is so freaky isn’t it? I’m reminded of those Air Force commercials that say, “It’s not science fiction, it’s what we do every day!”

    I don’t know about toasters, but refrigerators that tell you what to buy and when to buy it; grocery story sales, washing machines, and ovens that talk to your phone; cars that tell you when to turn, stop backing up, or even brake for you and deploy your airbag before collisions…

    One of my girlfriends just called me the other day. She’s preggo and her 4-yr-old son was telling me about his experience seeing 3D ultrasound pics of his baby brother in Mommy’s tummy.

    For those of us naive enough to give Facebook our cell phone number, it’s logging the GPS and telling where we posted from. We may already be dead! πŸ™‚

    The robot girlfriend was so absolutely ultra-creepy! I can see where she is headed. She’s cuter than I am and much more agreeable. There go my dreams of a fallback career that ends in a romantic fire escape kiss!

    Fabulous humor again, especially the blob. πŸ™‚ On the he-it-he-it thing… I love the Merriam-Webster Ask the Editor series. They just did one with Emily Brewster (I still want to be her when I grow up) trying to talk us into using “they” whenever there is doubt.

    Awesome and creepy post, Old Lady!! Thank you!! β™₯β™₯

    • The Awkward Case of “His of Her”

      • But using “their” just seems wrong, Anne!!

        *Sigh*…I’ll do it next time…I promise. πŸ˜‰

      • Haha, I know. I can’t do it either. I bend over backwards and jump through hoops rewriting stuff to get out of these little dilemmas.

    • Yes, I agree with you. All of those appliances telling me what I should buy and parallel parking for me. Not cool, technology…not cool.

      Robot Girlfriend is about the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. There is absolutely nothing about her that makes me feel good inside. Everything in me repels all that she is. I can only assume that it’s just a matter of time before girlfriends like her replace girlfriends like me, and I will be single forever – my nose isn’t as cute as hers and I won’t laugh at lame jokes. I’m done for. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks so much for the kind words again, Anne…you are awesome and everyone should know it. πŸ™‚

    • Not to mention she has no idea what a migraine is. Grr!

  3. Gotta love it.

    This is funny stuff. Your brainy sense of humor is priceless.

    I always think I’m too busy to read blogs, then yours arrives, and I get distracted by your clever headlines. OK, I think to myself, I’ll just read a paragraph or two… but by then it’s too late, I’m hooked.

    Productivity? Who needs it, when I can sit at my desk chucking all day!

    You’re a wonderful in-box surprise… every time!

    Did I tell you this is funny stuff??

    Seeya,

    -mike

    • Well, now…I don’t even know how to respond to that! All I can say is thank you so much, Mike!

      I appreciate your kind words and your high praise of my lame blog…

      Seriously, though, thank you so much. I appreciate having such loyal readers, like yourself! πŸ™‚

      • Hmmmm. What is chucking? Now, nobody get a dirty mind here. I’m simply asking what chucking is, and why one would sit at one’s desk all day doing it.

      • Haha! Well, I’m going to assume that Mike meant “chuckling” but just missed the “L”.

        If not, then I’m just as lost as you are. πŸ™‚

  4. I found this post fascinating. I can’t believe people are spending money on this stuff. I can only assume those who finance such ventures have money to burn on “what if” scenarios…like “what if” it works and/or “what if” we can find a market for it, etc. Ironically, I just got done reading an article about Philadelphia Electric, which has really been getting some bad press here for recent outages (3 of their all-time 10 just this year). People are asking…if the poles and cables are bad for managing service needs, why are you putting them back up and fixing them when storms bring them down? The answer…we don’t have the technology to send electricity in a wireless manner. Maybe all of these people should pool their resources together so the basic human need for electricity can be “advanced” first. Otherwise, I thought Teddy Bear Robo-Nurse’s face was cute…

    • Oh my…SportsAttitudes…I could not agree with you more!

      There is so much time and money spent on, as you say, “what if” scenarios, designing video games that will make children even lazier than we already believe them to be, and creating companions for lonely men who find speaking to an android more relaxing than a real woman. If only the people who design all of these things would combine their brainpower to create something actually worthwhile, imagine what would be possible…and, hopefully, uncreepy.

      As for Teddy Bear Robo Nurse, he frightens me the most. His “cute face” is meant to put you at ease…right before he crushes you with his paddle arms.

      Thanks again for stopping by, and for your brilliant comment, SportsAttitudes! πŸ™‚

    • I agree with you Sportsattitudes. I too was trying hard to think of some point to all of this. My suspicion – beyond suspicion for the first three – is that funding for these toys is provided by their respective governments. Not cool when, as you stated, the funding is clearly needed elsewhere.
      Okay, the hologram was cute, and I can only imagine how impressive she is to see first hand; However, wouldn’t it be interesting to look back to see how much funding was wasted on holographic technology thinking that we would be able to build spies, liaisons, and perhaps even an army out of it? Pitiful that the above video of a 16 year old cartoon figure is the most advanced use we ever seemed to make of it all!

      I do want to clearly state that I have not researched any of what I just said, and I could be completely wrong on all accounts. Furthermore any of these interesting technological endeavors which are privately funded wouldn’t necessarily be an issue with me, providing they remain morally sound.

      • Well, dinkerson, I do agree with most of what you said…except for the bit about the hologram being cute. Seriously? Seriously?? That thing is creepy. Pure and simple.

        Thanks for dropping by again! Your well thought out comments are always appreciated! πŸ™‚

  5. Hey girl…how have you been….good I hope.

    • Yeah, I’m doing good.

      Just working hard and getting creeped out by robots… πŸ˜‰

  6. I’ve seen the dog video before. Honestly, I don’t think I would have found any of this disturbing on my own. Now that you mention it though. The dog robot reminds me a whole heck of a lot of a giant, robotic insect. Gross! The Pet Man thing totally looks like a killer robot that could kill all of us right now. People worshipping a hologram: disturbing; I don’t get it. Pretty much disturbing all the way around. But you can’t stop progress–cue dramatic accent music.

    • Exactly!! Big Dog reminded me of a giant tarantula…about the worst thing ever. SO gross! Pet Man is The Terminator…I’m convinced of that.

      I was disturbed as soon as I saw the first one of these videos and then it just kept getting worse. I just want to go back to a simpler time…*cue music and far-away-looks*. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks so much for dropping in and taking the time to comment, David! Much appreciated! πŸ™‚

  7. Hey Chrsity! I’m sorry, I’ve been soooo busy that I couldn’t read you even if I felt like reading you everytime I thought about wordpress.

    It’s cool because, this post might have some relation with one of my posts titled “are we too dependent on new technologies”… lol Here is the prove!

    And here’s the question… Why everytime I hear about robots, there’s a japannese by its side? lol They are so intelligent, we’d say they love technology.

    Nonetheless I still thinking that there are many thinks that technology shouldn’t replace or substitute πŸ™‚ ( example, the robot girlfriend lol it’s known that a robot will never be able to replace a real human being…well, for now..

    • Hey Javi! No worries at all! I’ve been pretty busy these days too, so I completely understand. πŸ™‚

      Yeah, I agree with you…there are some things that technology will never be able to replace, like a girlfriend. I can’t understand why ANYONE would want to spend more time with a robot than they would with an actual human being. Insane! lol!

      Thanks for dropping in again, Javi! πŸ™‚

  8. Btw, Glad to read you you again Christy, hope you are Ok and that everything with you is ok too.. it’s been a while since I last read you! (unfortunately)

    See you soon!

    • Thanks Javi… πŸ˜‰

  9. Crazy stuff!!! Miku didn’t even break a sweat though. You found some wild vids girl.

    • And yet, Miku is not the freakiest thing I came across. It’s quite frightening, really…lol.

      Thanks for stopping in again, Clay! Much appreciated, my friend… πŸ™‚

  10. It’s so funny to read that so many people are creeped out by the semi-realistic nature of these robots. I’m reminded of my early days of reading classic Isaac Asimov science fiction, and how robots were supposed to be helpful but were hamstrung by societal backlash. Robots were very sympathetic creatures in Asimov’s books. What I find creepy, actually, is the way that your post and many of these comments echo the revulsion that Asimov described in his science fiction half a century ago. Astounding.

    • I think that the majority of the technological advancements are meant to be helpful (i.e. Robo-Nurse, et al), but the whole thing begins to get scary when these robots become far superior to us in physical (and sometimes even intellectual) ability – they then become a threat. I think that’s what is so off-putting.

      As for the revulsion aspect, I believe that’s due to the uncanny…plain and simple. The life-like robots are uncomfortably strange and uncomfortably familiar all at the same time.

      Hmm….perhaps Asimov was a seer because he sure was ahead of his time!

      Thanks so much for dropping by, Paul! Greatly appreciated! πŸ™‚

  11. On one hand I look at these inventions with awe but on the other hand it is just creepy.. I just wish things were better in fantasies than reality..
    Nice post !
    (P.S: I too prefer actual books to ereaders.. Nothing can replace the smell of an old library book or just paper!)

    • Yes, I agree with you, Vandysnape…I think it’s amazing that these robots were actually created, but I keep wondering why they were invented.

      I seem to keep coming up with the same answer over and over again: to creep me out. That’s why. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks so much for stopping in and taking the time to comment! Greatly appreciated! πŸ™‚

  12. 31 zzabski

    I invite u to follow my own official blog.
    a lot of pictures and interesting facts from the life of architect

    http://www.zzabski.wordpress.com

  13. I am at work so can’t view those videos but I do remember the robot girlfriend episode of The Outer Limits. He was a bloke in a wheelchair, did the whoospie with her one night and then compared her to a dishwasher the next day.

    She got mad.

    I would actually like Google to hook up to my toaster because I always forget which button does what and I end up having to scrape the black bits off the toast. Once I made a hole in the toast doing this and had to make some more.

    • LOL!!! I remember that show! I didn’t think anyone else ever watched it other than me…apparently there’s someone else out there who didn’t have cable back in the early 90’s.

      And, if Google hooks up with your toaster, you should be worried…your toaster will be putting you over 2 burning elements. It will then scrape the burnt bits off of you. It’s a genuine fear that many people have…you should be alarmed by this.

      Thanks for dropping by, Michael! Hilarious comments are always appreciated! πŸ˜‰

  14. I’m going back to bed now and pretend this was all a dream . . . a scary, freaky dream. I really didn’t realized how close we were to the big robot takeover. Man, don’t these people read or watch sci-fi. Danger, danger, Will Robinson!

    This a great post.

    • I know! Exactly!!

      Go-go-Gadget Anti-Robot spray!! πŸ˜‰

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Miss Demure…very much appreciated! πŸ˜€

  15. 36 wordsfallfrommyeyes

    OMG ALL of those things were bizarro crazy – where ever did you find them? That mind reading headset is so scary!

    This was a way interesting blog. I dropped by because of Anne Schilde’s mention of you! She’s right, you’re a very engaging blog. That was a lot of video clicks … but I just can’t get over that mind reading headset.

    • Wow…thanks very much, WordsFall! I appreciate your kind words as well as Anne’s (she’s rather awesome, isn’t she?). πŸ™‚

      To be honest, a few of the videos (PetMan and BigDog) were ones that my boss showed me, and then I got all distracted at work looking at videos of creepy robots and just thought, “Okay. That’s it. Creepy robot post coming up! If I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight, neither will anyone else!” πŸ˜‰

      And, yeah, nothing should ever read your mind. Like, ever.

      Thanks very much for dropping in, WordsFall! Your kindness is much appreciated! πŸ™‚

  16. Amazing and excellent post πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much, JakesPrinter! πŸ˜€

  17. Technology scares and frustrates me. I’m surprised more people aren’t paying attention to the way tech is so rapidly changing our brains, communication, and social networks.

    I love the word “moxie.”

    • Yeah, from the very first time that I visited your blog, I knew that you would be the type of man that would like “moxie”. It just fits well with smoking jackets, pipes, and leather-bound books…

      Thanks for dropping in, Greatsby!

  18. Well obviously those would be creepy if they gone out of control… But the scientists have seen all the movies in which machines turn against men, and they are extremly careful as for the actions a robot can do or can’t do, altough there’s alot of controversy since bigger responsabilities for robots mean bigger consequences for their mistakes (?).
    Also, i suppose (and I hope) that “robot friends” are just technological demonstrations and won’t be ever sold, that’d be creepy indeed. (robot girlfriend = OMG)
    But from an unbiased opinion, I am convinced that when someone’s dying in a dangerous place (icy mountain, battlefield), a robot can be helpful… Hey, maybe one day one of these machines will save lives, so it’s good not to be too biased πŸ˜›
    Well I loved your post and I found it really entertaining and interesting!
    Please forgive me english, and congrats ^^

    • Yeah, I agree that robots are useful when you’re stuck on an icy mountain top, but how often does that happen in your lifetime? 7…maybe 8 times tops?

      I think what is absolutely terrifying is that these “robot friends” are replacing real people. It’s only a matter of time before we are no longer needed and they eliminate us entirely. Just sayin’. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks so much for dropping by, Elbrigaking! I definitely appreciate your kind words and your taking the time to write them. πŸ™‚

      • yeah, you’ve got a point! We’ll just create a club and go kick some robot butt πŸ˜‰

      • Yeah, I’m in! But that might hurt so I’ll probably have to wear steel-toed shoes…

  19. I did not like the robot crazy eyes… there goes sleeping for a month… great post. It’s good to know others a keeping a keen eye on the robots as well.

    • Yeah, you’ve gotta be careful with robots. You can’t trust ’em.

      You’ve got to sleep with one eye open. If you can’t do that, it’s okay…I’m sure there’s a robot out there that can do it for you…and then rip your eye out of your socket.

      Thanks so much for dropping by, Andrew! It’s greatly appreciated! πŸ˜‰

  20. Great shares and awesome title!

    • Thanks Hook! I wanted everyone else in the world to be as disturbed as I was after watching that stuff…I figure misery really does love company. πŸ˜‰

  21. 50 Androgoth

    In a few years time all of these will be second nature, indeed anyone that isn’t dating a Robot will be classed as odd and the Nurse, who cannot be named for legal reasons and is just a figment of the owners imagination, will be touring Wally World and eating popcorn for breakfast every other day, well something along those lines anyway πŸ™‚

    You have a rather interesting Space here my friend and while you are busy sipping your next Green Tea you might want to contemplate what it would be like to create one’s own Monster, yes similar to the Frankenstein offering but with a little bit more finesse…

    How do you mean HOW?

    Well why not call over to my Space and find out, it’s just a hop and a leap past a few tombstones and then a skip and a long jump over the Skeleton with the limp, it’s not far, but do bring along a wooden mallet and some sharpened stakes just in case πŸ™‚ Maybe wise to bring some garlic too…

    Have a wicked weekend now πŸ™‚

    Androgoth

    • Hahaha! Thanks very much, Androgoth! I appreciate your kind words and I’ll definitely be checking out your blog as well!

      P.S. That was about the most creative explanation of blog-visiting (<— that's a word, right?) that I've ever heard! Good on you!

  22. Here is another website to add to your bug collection. πŸ˜‰

    http://technology.canoe.ca/2011/11/23/19009611.html

    ” Researchers in Michigan are giving insects a technological upgrade, turning them into tiny, winged spies. “

    • Oh great…that’s just what I needed to read. Now I’m even more paranoid than I was before!

      Rest assured that ANY bug that comes near me, I’ll be swatting it and then I’ll stomp on it with my foot so as to break all of the technology attached to it.

      Thanks for the disturbing link! πŸ˜‰


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