Imagine this: You're driving on the freeway in Canada, enjoying the view and sipping Tim Horton's, when all of the sudden you see something out of the corner of your eye. You expect it to be a moose, obviously, but instead you see a robot with his thumb hitched up. So, after insuring that you didn't accidentally take some hallucinogens a few miles back, do you pick it up?
This little guy isn't a figment of your imagination—his name is hitchBOT, and he is part scientific study, part art project. And this summer, the little dude will attempt to travel from Nova Scotia to Vancouver. Oh Canada!
Since Terminator, humans all around the world have been less trusting of robots. There is the fear that they will one day take over and rule the world. hitchBOT, though, is completely immobile, constructed with pool noodles and donning Wellies, which puts world domination just out of reach. The whole idea of this project is to turn the tables—instead of asking if humans can trust robots, can robots trust us?
Good thing that this is happening in Canada. Canadians are SO nice! I once read about a Canadian family who, while being robbed, sat their burglar down to talk about his life choices. Now, I can't prove that this is real, but I can't help but believe it. All I know is that if hitchBOT were to make his journey through America, the poor guy wouldn't stand a chance.
The robot will have speech recognition, processing capabilities, and will be able to pull from Wikipedia's API to hold conversations with those kind enough to give it a ride. It will also be able to ask for help when it needs it, by asking the driver to plug it into the car charger when he needs some juice.
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