No, this is not an episode of Westworld: Scientists have covered robotic fingers with living human cells. A.k.a.: they gave robots human skin.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo wanted to make robots more human-like. So they devised a technique where they submerged a robotic finger into a cylinder filled with collagen and human dermal fibroblasts (the two main components of the skin’s connective tissues). Then, they coated it with human epidermal keratinocytes.
The result? A skin-like texture that looks human and "slightly sweaty." It can also move and flex like a human finger – and, like human skin, heal itself when cut (though it's not as good as it as our skin).
Ok, we’re not gonna lie – in most movies about cyborgs, things don't go so well for humans (Robocop and Terminator). So why would we want to make robots look more human in the first place? Are they just not as worried about the robot uprising as we are?
Some experts defend the idea, saying that giving robots a more “human” appearance will improve their like-ability and communication efficiency.
Reading about the skin-covered robot hands got us thinking…
? Do robots/A.I. pose a real, existential threat to human society?
? Does giving robots more “human” features increase their danger to humanity?
? How close do you think we are to having robots that are indiscernible from humans?