Chris Van Es

Des droits pour les robots ?

PRINCETON et VARSOVIE – Le mois dernier, la société Gecko Systems a annoncé qu'elle avait testé le "Carebot", son "robot-assistant de vie totalement autonome", conçu pour aider les personnes âgées ou handicapées à vivre en toute indépendance. L'entreprise décrit comment une grand-mère sujette à des pertes de la mémoire immédiate fit un grand sourire au robot quand ce dernier lui a demandé "Voulez-vous manger une glace ?". Elle lui a répondu Oui et le robot a sans doute fait le reste.

Les robots remplissent déjà de nombreuses fonctions, allant de la fabrication des voitures au désamorçage des bombes – ou de manière plus inquiétante, au lancement de missiles. Les enfants et les adultes jouent avec des robots, tandis que l'on peut voir des aspirateurs-robots à l'œuvre dans un plus en plus grand nombre de foyers. Comme le montrent des vidéos sur YouTube, il existe même des robots ressemblant à des chats. Et n'oublions pas la Coupe mondiale des robots - mais à en juger par ce qui s'est passé l'été dernier à Gratz en Autriche, les footballeurs n'ont pas encore de quoi s'inquiéter (en ce qui concerne les échecs, c'est une autre histoire). 

La plupart des robots domestiques ont une apparence fonctionnelle – celui de Gecko System ressemble à R2-D2, le robot de La guerre des étoiles . Honda et Sony travaillent sur des robots qui ressemblent davantage à C-3PO, l'androïde que l'on voit dans le même film. Mais il existe déjà des robots dotés d'une "peau" et d'un visage expressif d'apparence humaine, capables d'accomplir toute une gamme de mouvements. Hanson Robotics dispose d'un modèle de démonstration appelé Albert dont le visage offre une ressemblance frappante avec celui d'Albert Einstein.

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