Ride the Roomba!
November 22, 2008 9:25 PM   Subscribe

Pets have long been afraid of anything robotic, whether it be Roomba or Robotic Dog, but times they are a'changing and Pets are fighting back and have learned to overcome.
posted by Del Far (16 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Oh Yes, I forgot to include the very interesting ethological study on "how much dogs see AIBO as a conspecific"

"So Sorry!"
posted by Del Far at 9:32 PM on November 22, 2008

Life imitates art.
posted by MrGuilt at 9:52 PM on November 22, 2008

Yes, I say, YES!
posted by Ms. Saint at 10:00 PM on November 22, 2008

Sort of related ... I live in a co-op with about 25 other people and two cats. Initially, both of them were scared shitless of my wheelchair. Wouldn't come anywhere near it, and would go running if I drove anywhere near them. Now, one of them has figured out that I'm not going to run her over ... and that if she sits in the hallway, she controls the *whole* hallway. She hasn't quite figured out how to turn this into treats and belly rubs, though.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 10:03 PM on November 22, 2008 [3 favorites]

And it ain't just the four-legged beasts: Previously.
posted by washburn at 10:04 PM on November 22, 2008

Critters are smart. They're getting to understand when something man made is safe or not. I loved that kitty riding the Roomba and wondering where that thing on the floor disappeared.

Here's a wild penguin that spots a boat and saves its life when being chased by killer whales.
posted by nickyskye at 10:06 PM on November 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

Odd how that riding behaviour manifests itself simultaneously in different parts of the world, when there's no logical instinctive precedent for it... especially given how cats (at least all the ones I've seen) dislike the motion of car rides.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:00 PM on November 22, 2008

Well I would imagine it depends on the cat. If it's used to being carried by a human, then it's already used to low-speed "riding" in a way, and if it's adventurous enough then riding the Roomba doesn't seem that odd a step. My cat, for example, has always hated being carried, and is very squeamish and particular about things, so I doubt she'd do anything but hide behind something and watch the Roomba do its roombing. That's just a guess, though, and now I really want to get a hold of a Roomba and put a blanket on top of it...
posted by palidor at 1:55 AM on November 23, 2008

We've had a Roomba for a few years now (my wife had a job translating the Japanese translation of the manual back into English... don't ask) and at first our daughter was fairly terrified of it! Now she loves it though, and would ride around on it like those cats, if she could. For that matter, I'd ride around on it like those cats if I could.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:16 AM on November 23, 2008

Well I would imagine it depends on the cat.

Ours would require some kitty Qualudes and epoxy.
posted by bibliowench at 7:15 AM on November 23, 2008

nickyskye: that penguin is the cutest creature-doing-cute-stuff video I've seen in awhile, and I'm a connoisseur of these things.
posted by nosila at 7:30 AM on November 23, 2008

nosila, in the end, doesn't that penguin look like it's smiling or about to kiss the woman? I was worried the killer whales would eat the people.

Quite interesting to see animals in the vids of the OP and the penguin be able to determine intention.
posted by nickyskye at 8:35 AM on November 23, 2008

We shouldn't be so quick to assume that a species like the dog or cat is "evolving" this kind of intelligence. More likely it's just that some individuals in the species are more intelligent or brave than others. (But I suspect the original post was comedic and it did make me LOL.)
posted by wastelands at 9:28 AM on November 23, 2008

More animals on Roombas.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 12:25 PM on November 23, 2008

Did a little more research about that Gentoo penguin. Got a much better vid for it, the unedited version here. " This video was given to me by the chef at Vernadsky, the Ukrainian research station about 90 miles south of where I'm currently living (Palmer Station, Antarctica)."

I'd gone to sleep and was dreaming about this cat riding Roombas post. Wanted to ask anyone who knows about genetics if information can be passed genetically from one generation to another within a short time or is information passed down only over centuries? Would cats, whose ancestors had never been exposed to Roombas; or human beings, never exposed to computers be able in one generation, be able to pass on that familiarity?

Or is there some kind of communication that human beings are conveying about the Roombas/computers to their cats and/or children, that it's something that is ok and nothing to do with genetics? Or both genes and communication?
posted by nickyskye at 8:16 PM on November 23, 2008

I have a cat that would kill a robot for food, or even a big metal creature like Klaatu. She does not have fear. Listen, I can vacuum her fur.

Is she a proto-cat for the future? Or just a bad-ass Manx?

It's possible that animals have never felt strongly, one way or the other, about robots but now that You Tube is around they enjoy their 15 minutes and are more creative in how they interact with mechanicals.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 12:45 PM on November 25, 2008

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