Monday, February 06, 2006

Do Robots Dream of Electric Lovborgs? - New York Times:

ISAAC ASIMOV'S First Law of Robotics, as any science fiction fan can tell you, states, "A robot may not injure a human being." Perhaps Hans, a gleaming, barrel-chested automaton, hasn't read Asimov. At a recent rehearsal for Les Freres Corbusier's coming play "Heddatron," he defies his radio-controlled commands and zips downstage, thwacking notebooks and coffee cups, as well as the director Alex Timbers and the playwright Elizabeth Meriwether.

Hans's creators, Cindy Jeffers and Meredith Finkelstein of Botmatrix, an art robotics collective, look on with a mix of worry and affectionate pride. Hans may be disobedient, even dangerous, but he's awfully cute. "He's our buddy," Ms. Jeffers explained. "When we were in the middle of making him and he would just be legs, we'd come in and say, 'What's up, Hans?' "

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