DISCOVER SONY’S ROBOT-THEMED ART INSTALLATION SOMEHOW FELT LIKE A CAT CAFE

DISCOVER SONY'S ROBOT-THEMED ART INSTALLATION SOMEHOW FELT LIKE A CAT CAFE

Everyone has their own personality.

With legitimate economic uncertainties for some of us, as well as predictions of a dystopian end in the hands, technologies such as robots, artificial intelligence, and automation have gained a bad reputation. Sony has taken a soft approach to robotics, perhaps best illustrated by its iconic electronic pet, Aibo. It is simply an effort of a company that has experienced a resurgence in recent years, not only through a redesigned robot, but also through its work on auto sensors.

With CES and the other usual technology programs, Sony has attended Milan Design Week in recent years. This time, his noble concepts are related to artificial intelligence, robotics empathy and what we all feel. However, I would not say that I left without an answer.

In an event space in the center of Milan, in technicolor, I crossed a simple body tracking corridor that turned my movement and my limbs into stick figures. I hurried to the next section, entitled “Autónoma”, which manifested “the independence and the free will of robotics” in a caged clock.

DISCOVER SONY'S ROBOT-THEMED ART INSTALLATION SOMEHOW FELT LIKE A CAT CAFE

Moving with a curious combination of natural oscillations based on gravity and internal programming, the pendulum reacted to the different humans who moved around it. I think this was to illustrate how robots can reproduce and subvert natural behaviors. But I’m only half sure.

“Conformity”, the continuation of this installation, was the most fascinating. Sony has filled the ground with white spheres of varying sizes, about half of which have moved around a group of enthralled spectators.

According to Sony, each sphere has its own set of behaviors and personality, which is reflected in the way these giant Spheros behaved towards each other and vis-à-vis the human intruders who found themselves in the middle of ‘them. At the top, depth sensors and cameras gathered information about its position or sitting position.

DISCOVER SONY'S ROBOT-THEMED ART INSTALLATION SOMEHOW FELT LIKE A CAT CAFE

The biggest balls were, unfortunately, the most … independent. They did not approach me when I was sitting and they did not react to my punctures. The youngest had behaviors. Once they realized that I was sitting, they approached me and crashed against my legs. Others stayed close to each other. If I tried to separate them, they would come together soon, like magnets.

Then he hit me. It all looked like the conceptual esoteric technological equivalent of a cat café. This simple system offered enough variations in the “personality” of the white ball to at least entertain me. However, I would not go so far as to call it affection. Everyone needed a face.

Enter “Affiliation”: robots evolve to interact with humans, robots appear “more alive” and, to prove everything, Aibo. We talked a lot about the Sony mascot. This time, however, he offered a glimpse of what’s going on behind these OLED eyes.

DISCOVER SONY'S ROBOT-THEMED ART INSTALLATION SOMEHOW FELT LIKE A CAT CAFE

The table had a reading of features such as fear, anger, happiness, and security. These are modulated according to their interactions with the robot dog and what he perceived around him. If he detected a new face, he could feel anxious, unsure of what would happen next.

In the last section, “Association”, the cube consoles were chrome polished and approaching humans, detecting their height and adjusting their height accordingly. Then he asked you to fill out a questionnaire. Sony itself cannot say how our future robot will merge with humanity. The relationship between them and us is just beginning. The Milan Design Week exhibition of the company keeps eccentricity, conviviality, and security. This seems like a wise approach at the moment.

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