A View from Christopher Mims
You Can Now Own Keepon, the Robot in that Spoon Video
Keepon is that rare technology that goes from prototype to consumer more or less intact
Keepon, invented in Japan, was originally designed to explore just how simple a robot can be and still interact with humans. The little yellow robot was, from the beginning, designed to be as accessible as possible. Hence its appearance in a video by the band Spoon.
Westerners, especially, tend to fear robots, but that’s as much because of cultural baggage as our tendency to specialize in the kind that kill people. Keepon, and robots like it, are part of an effort to make our semi-autonomous friends as accessible as R2-D2. The alternative, which nobody wants, is the Uncanny Valley:
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