Full Episode

Can Robots Be Human?

We often talk about technology as a matter of threat versus convenience. But now more than ever, it's encroaching on the things that make us... us. This week, Piya asks: Can robots be human?
Listen to the full episode58:12

We often talk about technology as a matter of threat versus convenience. But now more than ever, it's encroaching on the things that make us... us. This week, Piya asks: Can robots be human?

Here are the stories from this week's episode...

Me, my wife and our sex robot

She can control the music and entertain the kids. Oh, and you can have sex with her – as long as she's in the mood. Arran Lee Squire speaks with Piya about his sex robot, Samantha, how she's made to look, feel and act like a real woman, and whether robots could replace humans in the bedroom.

How a teen with autism teen found a friend in Siri

​Judith Newman -- whose son has autism -- found his conversations with the iPhone personal assistant Siri translated into more facility in talking to actual humans. She speaks with Piya about how the voice inside your phone can lead to better communication in the real world.

Roll over Beethoven, robot composers might be coming after your job

You might think real creativity is the exclusive domain of humanity. But researchers are pushing closer to artificial intelligence that can make real art. Out in the Open producer Geoff Turner surveys original art made by machines, and whether it could be a real threat to human creativity.

Can a robot love you back?

Dr. Hooman Samani coined the term 'lovotics', the study of whether humans can love robots... and whether robots can love us back. He talks about the furry white Roomba-like robot he created, replete with digital hormones, that he thinks could reciprocate love.

When cars can drive themselves, who will program their morality?

In the moments before a car crash, would you choose to hit other vehicles, other pedestrians or a building, possibly hurting yourself? Someone will be charged with making decisions in scenarios like this for autonomous vehicles. Out in the Open producer Sam Colbert visits Waterloo, Ontario to take a driverless car for a spin and explore the complexity of programming morality.

You're going to want to thank your grandmother's robot

When Emi Sasagawa's family got her ageing grandmother a robot companion, she was sceptical about how useful it would be. Then she began observing how it filled some voids her family couldn't. Emi reflects on the unexpected comfort of non-human companionship.

Will the AI on AI treaty ensure robots don't abuse other robots?​

There's long been concern about how we might protect humans against malevolent robots. But how do we protect robots... from other robots? Hutan Ashrafian makes his case for a global treaty that would ensure AI treats fellow AI with respect, for the sake of human society. 

This episode originally aired on October 29, 2017.