Planet of Clippy

Over at Interactive Architecture Dot Org, a report of Stephen Gage and Will Thorne’s “Edge Monkeys”:

The UCL EdgeMonkey robot, picture from interactivearchitecture.org

Their function would be to patrol building facades, regulating energy usage and indoor conditions. Basic duties include closing unattended windows, checking thermostats, and adjusting blinds. But the machines would also “gesture meaningfully to internal occupants” when building users “are clearly wasting energy.” They are described as “intrinsically delightful and funny.”

I applaud the idea, and (for now) look forward to a world chock full of daemons and familiars helping us do the ecological-right-thing… but I think trying to make them “delightful and funny” would be a mistake.

Far better to make them slightly grumpy and world-weary – rather than have a insufferably jolly robot ask if you really want to leave that light on.

Who needs a planet of Clippy?

0 comments
  1. Sounds like a choice between Marvin and the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation lifts… Yeah, I think I’d prefer Marvin to take care of things.

  2. charlie said:

    daemons and familiars – yes, the world will be like that.

    indeed, isn’t the roomba vacuum some sort of daemon? and what about those felt balls that roll around when no one’s around and pick up dust and talk with each other.

    and, add a bit of pro-activity to a mobile device and you have there a familiar. though i prefer a cat (not a frog, though).

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