The Ashes

Technology, Science and other news
April 17, 2009

Tweenbots Take A Magical, Saccharine And Hope-Riddled Journey Across The Park

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Filed under : General

Tweenbots project finds people really do care about robots, for now

A particularly innovative, young techno-artist named Kacie Kinzer has masterminded a sociotechnological experiment involving a happy-faced, semi-autonomous robot that rolls around public spaces. The robot bears a flag on which its intended destination is printed. Kacie wonders whether these ‘bots can “create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself?”

The Tweenbots rely on humans to guide them to their destinations safely; in crowded cities, people worry about terrorism, drive recklessly, love to kick stuff and ultimately might just slam-dunk a Tweenbot into a garbage can. Kacie discovered that enough people were willing to help the ‘bot safely across its obstacle course – namely, the Washing Square Park – in order to reach its destination. Lots of people even took pictures and cheered it on. Whether or not this experiment can continue, given the implications of hooliganism, public safety (what if someone rigged up a happy-looking bot that concealed a sinister, havoc-wreaking explosive?), and all sorts of other derivative social chaos.

The cheerful ‘bot in Washing Square Park made its journey in just 42 minutes, with the help of 29 happy, selfless passers-by.

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