For those who say that, “Hondas are reliable and safe, but where’s the action? Where’s the drama? Where’s the virility?” we direct you to the Asimo robot. Asimo is a humanoid–!—that Honda first showed off to the world in the year 2000. Honda’s development into the technology, however, goes back to the 1980s, which makes us think that Honda saw The Terminator and thought, “You know what would be cool…”
The goal of Asimo is to create a helper for people with mobility disabilities. Those of you who saw the charming 2012 film Robot & Frank know what we’re talking about. But, in their quest to provide a better, safer, more technologically advanced (and dependent) world tomorrow, Honda is basically courting the robot apocalypse today. This is literally the plot of nearly any science fiction movie ever: mankind creates machine, machine become smarter than mankind, parents shield children’s eyes for 85 minutes.
However, it doesn’t have to go that way. Asimo recently found time in his day to play a little soccer with President Obama, and if the Secret Service are cool with ‘Mo, then the rest of us should be satisfied. Just for a creative exercise, we thought we’d envision a few alternative scenarios regarding Asimo. What do you think: too real? Let us know in the comments.
1. Laughing gas
In an attempt to make Asimo more people-friendly, Honda’s engineers attempt to build the most universal, gentle, every-nation pleasing laugh, and the results are utterly terrifying. A maniacal shriek emanates from Asimo as he runs about with limitless energy playing soccer, helping the elderly open Metamucil containers, and rescuing cats from trees.
2. Hipster Asimo
“You use a smartphone, man? I like paper and pencil. It makes my thoughts more natural, you know?” Asimo glues a mustache to his faceguard, refuses to wear anything not made out of hemp, devotes his billion-dollar circuitry to playing in drum circles, and scoffs at domestic beer even though he can’t taste anything. He insists on writing out everything in cursive, long-form script with pencils made from real wood, and is thinking about starting an organic food store out in Asheville, whenever the winds blow him out there.
3. Ken Jennings backlash
The famed Jeopardy! Champion competed against and lost to IBM’s supercomputer “Watson,” uttering the famous concession line, “I for one welcome our new computer overlords,” an homage to a 1994 Simpsons episode. Well, what if Asimo watches both The Simpsons and Jeopardy! and in addition to absorbing all knowledge and comedy simultaneously decides that he doesn’t like TV? He goes to the FCC and says, “Shut it down, or I’ll soccer you into submission.” The FCC caves in because, let’s face it, they can’t even protect the Internet from net neutrality laws, and there you have it, no more Biggest Loser.
Those are our apocalyptic scenarios. But seriously, check out that movie Robot & Frank. Honda’s research into humanoid technology could offer vast improvements in the quality of life for humankind.