Heard this interesting conversation on “The Story” yesterday titled “A Robot Needs Hips to Lean and Listen.” It is the second half of the podcast on 10/30. The conversation covers the use of technology, the body, communication, and the future of work.
What was most interesting to me is the story of how an employee in Indiana called into a workplace in California via robot. More than a phone call, he found that having a physical presence in the office through a very simple mobile robot allowed him to communicate more effectively and participate in the important casual conversations that happened both before and after the meeting when most details are worked out and deals made. The company is advancing the technology so far that they are hiring someone from Pixar to help animate these communication robots and to make the conversations more effective.
Another interesting point was that once a technology is adopted, people have the ability to look beyond the technology and focus on the content. For example, the woman on the program said that when she called her mom, she is not talking to a phone, she is talking to her mom.
I find something similar in the design field with the tools we work with. The content of a design is not determined by its technology, nor is the technology a guarantee of quality or enhanced value. We should be able to look beyond the technology to focus on a more full understanding of the user experience; the content of our design, our work beyond its tools.
Still, it would be very cool to have a robot version of myself in a far away place…