First, watch this brief clip (only 2mins 38s): You Tube: telepresence robot in action. This is just the start, and I’m sure that the boffins who create these things have already started to iron out some of its faults (and its look…not engaging, and too short!). It looks wacky, but so did mobile phones when they first came out, remember? Now everyone, or at least every schoolkid, mum, and business person, has a mobile phone, or some form of handheld device.
When we are out of the office, but need to be there for a discussion/meeting, the robot in this clip is better than a ‘sqwauk-box’ spider-phone, or even telepresence screen on the wall (which only a few people at a time can use). How long before we each have our own “robot double”? It comes out of the office to go to a meeting, when you aren’t there, then goes back to your desk and waits to be called….like an obedient dog!
Or, perhaps, we have a Department Robot, that has some unique features so everyone knows “Hey its the RE&Workplace Dept….coming to join our meeting. Who’s in there today?”…..”It’s Jim Double, I’m in China this week, but know I had to get to this meeting…” etc.
The bit of our human bodies that “work” is largely interested in is the brain – and the face I guess. A smile goes a long way….This ‘robot’ almost delivers both! If it looked more like a person, and was at the right height, it could engage in conversation better.
Its not a replacement for face-to-face contact. But, there are many reasons why that is not possible, but where a company needs your brain+face to input somewhere where the rest of your body cannot be…..
This also opens a whole new world of opportunities for people with disabilities, or who live in remote locations, etc, etc….their ‘real brain’ can be wherever it needs to be, whilst engaging in discussions with people around the world.
A bit more customisation (eg., some personal identity, so people know its you) could make this work well. Don’t you think??