robot for college homework

I have no comment…

Dear Kid,

It seems the super geeks (settle down, that’s a compliment) at Cornell University have created (are creating? Not entirely sure of timing on this) a robot that can read your mind. (Yes, your mind. If it tried to read my mind, it would probably explode in confusion.)

The short version (here’s the long version) is that the robot watches your behavior and infers what you are going to do next. Then it helps or does it for you.

This is not all that impressive. Booker has been doing it for years. What? Finished with the food on your plate and heading to the kitchen? Something might spill—I’ll come with you.

The scientists say it will do marvy things like anticipate that you want a soda or coffee and fetch a beverage. Oh, joy. Just what we in the US need—something that will allow us to be even lazier than we currently are. Not that I wouldn’t be delighted to have a robot bring me a cool beverage on a hot day. But I’m not sure it’s a good thing for society as a whole. Just sayin’.

I’m also a little worried about the more far reaching effects of robotic mind reading. It’s one thing to ask your robot to do something, “Robot, please dig a trench for planting petunias in front of the house.” But it would be bad if the robot could figure out that you are sufficiently annoyed at the door-to-door salesman to commit murder and proceeds to dig a 6 foot deep grave in the front yard.

And what about a robot that sees you sit down to study and grabs the book so that it can “study” for you? That’s just wrong.

Or the robot that guesses (accurately) what you’re thinking about and tells. There are definitely things we would all prefer to keep locked up in the gray matter.


What do you think the best and worst applications of robotic mind reading will be?

Love, Mom