This episode of the radiolab podcast titled Furbidden Knowledge, features an interview with Freedom Baird a former graduate student at the MIT media lab. During the episode, Baird and hosts perform a so called ¨emotional turing test¨ on a group of 7 and 8 year olds. Presenting the children with a Barbie doll, a Furby and a real hamster, they take a look at how long the children are comfortable holding each one upside down.
MIT professor Sherry Turkle says no but she’s intrigued about some of the deep and meaningful emotions they can provoke in humans.
Turkle stresses that although we are still very far from the point where robots are indistinguishable from humans- as in the movie Blade Runner, based on Phillip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?- humans are capable of forming attachments to robots. During the interview Turkle discusses some of the issues raised through her studies with Cynthia Breazeal, founder and director of the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab.