6 Things Robots Can Already Do That Will Freak You Out

Alexa, play the intro to ‘Black Mirror’.

Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence RN, mainly about how robots are going to take over the world. While AI certainly can be used for evil (can you think of a more terrifying image than a robot holding a gun?!) it can also be used for things that are cool and good. Here are six impressive tasks that robots are able to do:

1 They can have meaningful sex with you


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Kinda, depending on your definition of ‘meaningful’. Life-size sex dolls are nothing new; creepy men have been ordering them online for years. As AI becomes more and more advanced, so do these sex dolls and (for a lot more money than one would spend on a classic and simple blow-up doll) you can get dolls who talk back to you and move. Men have dominated this market for too long and finally we’re getting a chance to blow all of our savings on a realistic sex robot who talks back!

Henry is a buff AF robot, complete with a six-pack, freckles sprinkled all over and those big arm veins that we all weirdly find attractive (right?). Because women are less likely to simply want to have sex with an inanimate robot, developers are working hard to give him a personality too. Henry will be able to ask you about your day (and really listen!), remember important information about you and even cuddle. You’ll also be able to choose exactly how you want his swimsuit area to look. Yay?

2 They can translate other languages in real-time

Hearing aids are becoming more than just a tool to enhance hearing. The new generation of hearing aids, led by Livio AI, are able to translate different languages to you, with only a half a second delay. The company is looking to do what Steve Jobs did for the phone; turn the humble hearing aid into a multipurpose device. The device is also able to connect to your health tracking app on your phone (like a smart watch), stream music and phone calls (like a Bluetooth headset) and alert your loved ones if you fall down.

3 They can diagnose autism early on


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After her third child neurophysicist Ariana Anderson had become fluent in baby. She knew how to tell the difference between a cry for food, a wail that meant a dirty nappy and other baby signals that leave new parents sleepless and frustrated. So Ariana created ChatterBaby, which records and analyses your baby’s cries and tells you what their adorable and underdeveloped mouths can’t. The app is now collecting data that may help with recognising autism early on. Autistic children generally engage in activities like head banging or avoiding eye contact, and their cries carry neurological clues too. ChatterBaby hopes to analyse these kinds of signs and help parents with an early diagnosis of autism.

4 They can dress you

Remember that scene from Cinderella where cute animals help her get dressed? This is totally possible, except the cute animals have been replaced by a much-less-cute robot. A robot at the Georgia Institute of Technology has taught itself to put a gown on a human. This might not sound like a big deal but will be hugely helpful in hospitals and for people who struggle to dress themselves due to disability or injury.

5 They can keep you from drinking all your best wine in one go


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You want a glass of that expensive wine you’ve been hoarding but if you open it you have to have the whole bottle, and you’re not about to get wrecked alone on a Monday night. Enter the Coravin, the robot that magically draws wine  out of your bottle without actually opening it. It inserts a slim needle through the cork, draws out however much wine you’re in the mood for, then inserts argon, which means your wine will keep pretty much indefinitely. This is great news for those fancy wine bars that don’t serve their best wines by the glass or wine lovers who struggle to choose which bottle to crack open. The only drawback? It costs about R10 000. We might just stick to Namaqualand then.

6 They can do your boring household chores

Researchers at MIT have demonstrated VirtualHome, a system that could train robots to help you with tasks around the home. Chores like setting the table and pouring coffee could all one day be performed by your very own robotic butler. While this may sound like the kind of thing that would only be useful for the very rich and lazy, it could also be super useful for assisting disabled and the elderly in their homes.

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