Future of technology – Keynote speaker Ross Dawson

Ross Dawson is globally recognized as a leading technology futurist and keynote speaker. He has spent over a decade researching, writing, speaking, and consulting about the future of technology, and has worked with a range of clients all around the world.

Keynote speaker video – Emotional machines and robotic pets

Recently technology futurist Ross Dawson gave a keynote at Future Tech conference in Hobart on ‘The Future of Technology’. Below is a video snippet of his inspiring keynote, offering compelling insights into the rise of robotic pets and emotional machines.

Full Transcription: Emotional machines and robotic pets

Ross Dawson:

What I would like to explore though I think is a really interesting space is where we start to become emotionally engaged with robots. This is Paro the robot seal, and it’s a seal which is trained to respond, to, to people, so when you pat it, it responds, so in these particular images we’ve got some young children who are recovering from surgery respond to it. And when you put these robot seals in old people’s homes, people start to become more talkative, become more engaged because they’ve got something human to engage with. I’ve got the, the latest generation of robotic toy here, and this is Pleo the robot dinosaur, Hello Pleo.

I was recently interviewed on the Today Show, I’m just showing off this, and this is a wonderful little robot where it really responds to your petting and the way you stroke it, you can be learn over time. It’s got a camera so it can see things, it can hear your voice, wonders around, it’s very happy and if you look at the, the woman on the Today Show and see that she starts to fall in love with Pleo. Because… Something which we can actually engineer. We can actually create things that we are emotionally engage with becomes part of our lives and, you know, what I was saying on Today Show here is that we will have robotic pets.

It’s not as if we are all going to send off all our cats and dogs immediately, but we will choose, whether we got allergies, because we can switch them up when we go on holidays, and for all sorts of other reasons, we will start having robotic pets, and these are the things that we engaged with. And this is the first generation, now, look at the way she’s falling for it. She actually falls in love with it. Now one is also a really interesting thing that a little segment after this Today Show was on, the male host held Pleo up by the tail and, and Pleo is not very happy about that and so, the Today Show got a number of calls from people complaining about this. How could he treat this robot like that? Such a lovable little robot and that’s the reality is that we can get emotional engaged with the robots.

And [chuckle] that’s alright. I really love you, don’t worry. [chuckle]

It’s $350US, available in Australia quite soon. I think over the next month or two.

[Someone asks a question – inaudible]


Unfortunately not. [laughter] This is… There is only a handful of these from Australia at the moment. But, this I said, this is the first generation of these robotic pets we engage with. Soon, it’s not as if we want to make ones that are indistinguishable. If you made robot cat it would seem funny, but we’re not used to having dinosaurs, so we can engage more with that. So we’re also trying to emulate current pets. We’re trying to create new ways in which we can get emotionally engaged.

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