New York safe for helpless robots

Published Date
15 - Apr - 2009
| Last Updated
15 - Apr - 2009
New York safe for helpless robots

We had always assumed that society would take more time to adjust to robots waking around in the streets with us. It seems though, that id you make it look cute enough, people might just be OK.


In a social experiment of sorts, small robots were set into New York City, with smile on their face, and nothing to guide them to where they needed to go than a simple flag asking for help.


Dubbed as TweenBots, these small robots are dependent on humans for navigational guidance. They are set in one part of the city, with a set aim to getting from that point to their set destination. They rely on people to read the flag, which tells them where the robot needs to go, and then set them in the right direction.


This social experiment was set up by a Kacie Kinzer answer a philosophical question:

could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself?”


Over months of experiments carried out, NONE of the TweenBots was destroyed, and rather surprisingly people willingly helped out the little lost object to find its destination. In one case even yelling at it not to go where it wanted as the road was in that direction.


I think the results, although surprising, speak encouragingly of the human spirit to help others in need. It is pleasant to see people engage and respond to something that echoes with their sense of having been lost and relied on the kindness of others.

 Here's a wonderful video of the whole affair:

For more information go to



If however you do meet a robot looking more like...


or like this:



DO NOT tell it how to get from where you are to John Connor. Humanity's survival depends on it!



Any death of yours that results from following above advise would be totally worth the sacrifice.


Team DigitTeam Digit

All of us are better than one of us.