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Oh don’t worry, not all robots – just the humanoid ones.

Robots are intended for work. That’s what the Slavic word robot means. But if robots are going to look like humans, they aren’t going to do their work very well because behaving like humans is difficult, especially this walking thing. I thought that after inventing the wheel (as made for vehicles, not pottery) six thousand years ago we would solve this problem of walking around. And you’ll say that we did solve it with our wagons, bicycles, cars… you name it.

Nope. Sure, we’ve solved the problem for us but we sure as heck haven’t solved it for our fellow robots. It seems like we are reinventing the problem for these poor fellas. We’ve made them look like lumbering idiots, stumbling over their inventors’ vanity and their own inefficiency. I hope everyone has the same reaction I do when I watch videos of the white plastic robots (white plastic is quite fashionable, I must say). First comes the amazement. Who wouldn’t be wowed by these dancing bad boys? But then you stop and think. Instead of having them walk around, why not just have wheels? The robots just look silly, inching around on their bent knees as the snails whiz by them. You can hardly even call this movement walking. The amazement dies down as you realize the time and trouble it takes for these things to simply walk down its own stage.

Walking and balance must be a major focus in the field of robotics, let alone simulating the delicacy of hands and fingers. I don’t understand why it’s worth the time and money to create humanoid robots instead of ones that rely on wheels. If these humanoid bots are ever going to be used for, as their name suggests, work then they will be more efficient on wheels. If, however, they will only be used for entertainment, then why pour so much money in these projects in the first place? Seems like a steep price for something that will only be used for a few minutes of oohs and ahs.

Two legs are bad, four legs are better, and a wheel is the best. I think the creators of DuckTales were onto something when they created GizmoDuck. Although maybe one wheel is a stretch..

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