Monday, November 21, 2005

ASIMO Enlisted to Explain Science to Europeans

Humanoid robot opens EU science conference
by Juan Ameen in Brussels

An EU conference entitled “Communicating European Research”, was opened by ASIMO, Honda’s advanced humanoid robot, last Monday.

Honda has developed ASIMO, an autonomous walking robot they believe will help humans and be of practical use in society.

ASIMO is able to perform tasks in a human environment and its walk is similar to that of a human being.

Science needs a wider audience, and communication is a must for science, said Janez Potocnik, EU Commissioner for Science and Research at the conference held in Brussels last week. “We need to improve the way research is communicated and the image science has.”
Mr Potocnik said ASIMO is a different way of portraying science and bringing it closer to the people.
It is useless carrying out important research which addresses society’s pressing needs ...

Over 40 per cent of European citizens claim never to have read any articles on science mainly because they do not understand the content or are not bothered with scientific issues.

Research needs to be made more attractive and explained in clear terms. It also needs to be contextualised – its use and impact on people’s daily lives must be shown.

However, scientific journalism is not easy. Journalists must make themselves familiar with the scientific content and verify it, then translate it for the public.
The key is not education – as most people think it is. People do know what scientists are talking about but they will not accept it if it goes against their ideals, said Mr Leshner.

ASIMO will obviously put a human face on scientific research to change the opinions of the ignorant European public.

ASIMO is boosting his image as an intellectual scientific activist to further distance himself from popular teen idols like QRIO.
Most notably there have been no reports of ASIMO out on the club scene with beautiful euro-stars and royalty. Although, there are rumors that work has begun on a music video.

Malta INDEPENDENT online


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