Jan 8, 2007

How to Create Psychologically Compatible Robots

In the foreseeable future household robots may become commonplace. These robots will likely serve not only to help keep order in the home, but to provide emotional support to their stressed out, friendship-starved owners. To elicit an emotional attachment, they will need to display human qualities and psychologically complement their owners.

Potentially, robots could be created that would arouse a greater attachment than a human partner could. The way to do this is to make robots that have no personal goals of their own, but are wholly devoted to satisfying their owners' needs and whims. If robots were also designed to satisfy their owners sexually, the effect could be addictive.

How would you go about creating a psychologically compatible robot?
To generate an attachment between master and robot, the robot would have to display helplessness in the areas that the master is strongest in. This makes the master feel needed by the robot, and in return the robot would have to provide needed assistance to the master as well. If you create a purely functional robot that carries out a single set of tasks and has no human weaknesses and no implicit neediness, there will be no attachment with owners (except for the most technically minded people who "love" machines). For an emotional attachment to form, robot and master must fulfill each other's psychological needs. This implies a certain degree of psychological lopsidedness and neediness, which creates a motivation for cooperation.

The robot would have to display helplessness indirectly - not through blunt questions like, "Can you clean me? I feel dirty." To this the owner would probably reply, "Go clean yourself. I'm busy." Much more effective would be to have the robot cough and look tired and preoccupied when dust begins to build up inside or some other maintenance is required. This kind of robot behavior would be ideal for owners with strong introverted sensing. These robots would lighten up and start sharing insightful observations about events around them as soon as they are fed and properly taken care of. They would also need to finicky and infantile to provide an outlet for their owners' caretaking tendencies.

People with strong extraverted logic would need robot helpers that are cute and harmless playthings that constantly lose track of wires and outlets, phone numbers, things to do, and tools and appliances. Such robots should be able to put on a sad face and say, "Now what am I going to do? The refrigerator doesn't seem to be working any more, and I can't remember where I put the warranty." At the same time, these robots need to be adept at listening and comforting owners who struggle with irritation.

People with strong extraverted ethics would need robot companions who habitually take things too seriously and take issue with other people's choice of words, leading to frequent arguments. Such robots should be able to complain convincingly about a lack of comradery and kinship with others and should feel depressed when they are time and time again left out of fun, socializing, and close relationships. These robots soften up and become animated when their emotionally spirited masters are around. In return, they need to be able to listen staunchly to emotional tirades and help their owners figure out what is at the root of their discontent.

People with strong introverted intuition have a need for robots with strong material desires who are chronically anxious and worried about the future. These robots would need to ask questions like, "what if we don't make it to the bus stop on time?" with a worried face. At the same time, these robots would need to constantly whip their owners into shape by calling them "lazy bums" and by saying "I need the trash taken out NOW," "why haven't you called Aunt Bettie yet?", etc.

People with strong extraverted sensing have a need for robot helpers who suffer from a lack of will and personal desires. Such robots would need to be able to complain with a hopeless look about a lack of motivation and guidance in their day-to-day tasks. These robots would be daydreamers who chronically forget about the world around them, but have a strong sense of meaning and purpose and can hypnotize their owners with their predictions and internal vision.

People with strong introverted logic have a need for robot helpers who are always joking and acting up, but can't communicate information in a clear, logical, and dispassionate manner. When corrected by their owners, they would say, "Yes sirree" or "that, my friend, is precisely what I wanted to say" with a mockingly serious expression.

People with strong introverted ethics have a need for robot companions who are hard-working and diligent, but frequently experience irritation when other people get in the way of their goals and don't act rationally. These robots should be able to sigh dejectedly and say, "my relationship with the garbage man is the source of much distress for me," or "What is wrong with people? Am I the only one who isn't mentally ill?"

People with strong extraverted intuition have a need for robot helpers who worry about their undeveloped talents and potential and wonder what strengths and weaknesses they have compared to other people (or robots). They should be able to convey this insecurity on their face in moments of weakness. At the same time, these robots should be good at supporting any new initiatives of their owners and should be programmed to remind their owners to use the bathroom, ask them if they are hungry or cold, and suggest ways to remedy these situations (i.e. "Oh you poor thing - you look as if you haven't eaten anything all day. How about I microwave the pizza leftovers?").

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

lol...
reading this i saw why relationships worked.. looking at my parents, cousins etc.
now i am less uncomfortable that my relationship should be different.

Anonymous said...

Serious Question: Could these be used to type yourself and other people?

For instance, this describes me perfectly:
People with strong introverted intuition have a need for robots with strong material desires who are chronically anxious and worried about the future. These robots would need to ask questions like, "what if we don't make it to the bus stop on time?" with a worried face. At the same time, these robots would need to constantly whip their owners into shape by calling them "lazy bums" and by saying "I need the trash taken out NOW," "why haven't you called Aunt Bettie yet?", etc.

And the what a strong Se needs describes this girl I know perfectly, who is an Ip Ni type.

So are these real descriptions or just about robots?

Rick said...

>> So are these real descriptions or just about robots?

:-) They're basically real descriptions, but with some humor. The basic idea is that I'm taking some of the vital functions that different duals tend to perform for each other and imagining a simplistic mechanization of the process.

MartaEzis said...

Great article... If someone was willing to make it to pictures it would make a nice caricature series :-)
Only I don't think I (SEE) would like a robot with a lack of will and personal desires. Strong will and a clear vision of what they want is exactly what I like about people, and so I would probably like it in a robot, too. - Or maybe I'm just taking the article too seriously :-)