by Kenny Ong in Tech on Wednesday 18 June 2014

Meet hitchBOT, a Wikipedia-reading robot that plans to hitchhike across Canada. As part of a social robotics experiment, Frauke Zeller, a roboticist at Ryerson University in Canada, expects hitchBOT to rely solely on human kindness while it makes its way from Halifax to Victoria. “Usually, we are concerned whether we can trust robots, e.g. as helpers in our homes. But this project takes it the other way around and asks: can robots trust human beings?”

To complete this daunting task, hitchBOT is equipped with basic machine vision and a microphone to detect motion and speech. It can also speak and is programmed to carry out multiple conversations simultaneously, whether it’s face-to-face or via social media. Do not worry. It will not run out of conversation as its knowledge about the world comes from reading Wikipedia voraciously.

If you care whether hitchBOT will succeed on its highway adventure or be damned by human cruelty, you can tag along on Istagram, Twitter, and at website hitchBOT.me once the robot hits the road on July 27.

Via The Atlantic