: The founder of Roomba, Helen Greiner, is presenting now. I wasn’t going to buy one of the robotic vacuums before. I am now. But that’s not good news. It’s an indication of the TiVo problem: It’s not easy to explain everything this product does for you. It’s more than a stupid, useless Aibo; it’s a very smart device that doesn’t just wander around a room; it senses schmutz and can go get it. More sophisticated products require more sophisticated sales.
: She shows video of military robots going through hell in simulated and now real battlefields (as well as at the World Trade Center after the attacks). Impressive.
: Forget the vacuum. I wish I could buy the stock.
: Dan Gillmor (and somebody important sitting near me) are complaining that the keynote was too much of a PR/sales pitch.
: A questioner goes after her on the “etchical constraints” and says people are upset in the IRC back-channel about the robots being used in Iraq and asks whether they would sell robots to the police to go after protestors. Scattered kneedjerk applause in this lefty crowd. “When you send the robot in you are reducing the risk to the person. This is basically an answer the suicide bomber, who doesn’t care if they get killed…”
Well, is it ethical not to sell them to the military and allow soldiers to die instead?
She also says there are export restrictions (do we want these to become suicide bombers?).