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ImageJoe Engelberger, called, "the father of modern robotics", because he started the first company to use robots, has called the robots featured at the International Robot Expo, "toys," reports the Sidney Morning Herald


"These are toys that are being made," he said during a ‘oh
heaven help me’ plea to an audience of scientists and industry
representatives in Tokyo this week.


"Nothing serious. Just stunts. There are dogs, dolls, faces that
contort and are supposed to express emotion on a robot," he

He also ranted about the needless millions that are being spent on trivial and unimportant tasks, when there are scores of vital tasks that could and need to be done by robots.

"I know that there are things that a robot can’t do. It’s not
going to bathe you and it’s not going to dress you but it can be
made to find the milk in the fridge," he said. … "I say, stop it all … go for the whole damn schmeer
… I’ve recently become an octogenarian and I’d ask you,
please, hurry up."

Has Joe gone too far? Or, is he saying what everyone is thinking?

Personally, I think it goes to show the vast difference between the US and Japan. I think Japan is doing it the right way. The US is highly divided between hobbiest robotics and high-level military and research robotics. There’s nothing in the middle, which is exactly what Japan has. Perhaps the "future" we’ve all been waiting for isn’t in sentient robots that do our bidding, but small baby steps towards that goal. Free-market economics still apply and companies will go where the money is.  And, let’s face it, the though of robots in the house is a scary thing. People need to become used to that idea, and Japan is doing a pretty darn good job at it.

My opinion: Move over Joe, Japan has it right and you’re behind the times. What do you think?

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