In my old job as a bike messenger, my purpose was to get from one place to another. In a social experiment conducted by Kacie Kinzer, cute human-like robots successfully achieved the same goal with a little help from passersby.
Tweenbots are human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal.
Surprisingly, no one kicked or stomped the robots, or squashed them with their bikes. In fact, people seemed eager to shepherd them along, perhaps - as a recent study suggests - because they were adorable and human-like. After all, what's more human than struggling to find your way in the world?
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