The robots are coming. And really, in some ways, they’re already here. If you’ve ever tripped over a robot vacuum, you’ve actually waded into the fascinating frontier that is human-robot interaction. If humans are at all going to get along with increasingly sophisticated robots, we need to figure out how we’re going to interact with them, and in turn they’ll need to adapt to us.
This technological revolution is different than those that came before it. In the Industrial Revolution, the static, hulking machines required humans to fundamentally change the way they worked. But in the robot revolution, both parties have to make compromises. You’ll have to learn to communicate with a new kind of being, and that new kind of being will have to help you along as well. Subtle communications, like a robot pretending to struggle with a heavy object it’s handing to you so you’re not surprised by the weight, will be pivotal for our two species to work together without driving each other crazy.
Luckily, ace roboticists like UC Berkeley’s Anca Dragan are diving deep into the fascinating problems of human-robot interaction before they become problems. Check out the video above to see Dragan’s top four challenges with the coming robo-revolution.