DisgustBot AlphaBots ~ Artificial Emotional Intelligence

Here’s the latest in my Artificial Emotional Intelligence series for AlphaBots. I’m learning quite a bit about emotions in researching this project. Except that I’m ending up with more questions than answers.

For instance, disgust to me seems absolutely fundamental & visceral, more physical than mental at least in its roots, yet some think it’s an emotion that must be learned. I suppose that’s true in some cases, but if you’ve ever seen a baby eat something bitter, this robot’s expression will look quite familiar.

I recently read an article about people with trypophobia– extreme revulsion at the sight of clustered holes. I found most of those images appealing actually, but I love all sorts of patterns in nature. On the other hand, hair in a bathroom drain gives me the major creeps, beyond all reason.

There does seem to be a fair degree of variability & irrationality involved in disgust. What disgusts you that others don’t mind? What do you find tolerable that grosses others out? Do you think these reactions were “hard-wired” or did you acquire them over time? Do you find context important? Do you think disgust is always related to fear?

I tried to make this robot look something like a bitter pill, or perhaps a bacterium of some sort… luckily a shape that Illustrator’s gradient mesh seems to comprehend a little bit more easily. That gave me time to get a little carried away with a rivet effect using the dotted line stroke.

My Illustrator interest may have crossed the line into obsession. The other night I dreamed I was trying to control my husband’s snore volume using Bézier curve handles, & getting very frustrated with Illustrator when it didn’t work! Perhaps that’s my subconscious telling me that I’m asking too much of this program? In this case an old-school poke in the shoulder was much more effective. ;-) At least I woke up laughing, which isn’t always the case when the snore volume goes to 11!




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