back to article Google wants Marvin the Paranoid Android's personality in the cloud

Someone at the Chocolate Factory doesn't realise that Douglas Adams wrote satire, and has patented replaceable robot personalities. In US Patent 8,996,429, filed in 2012 and published on March 31, Google's Anthony Francis and Thor Lewis propose a robot that “may be configured to tailor a personality for interaction with the …

  1. stuartnz
    Thumb Down

    Sounds Ghastly

    It is. It all is.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Sounds Ghastly

      Brain the size of a planet and I'm stuck here talking to you. God, I'm depressed.

  2. Nigel Brown

    Well, if you call it a robot.

    It's more like an electronic sulking machine.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Well, if you call it a robot.

      Google? More like an electronic stalking machine.

  3. LaeMing

    Don't forget...

    ...the two versions of Eddie the Shipboard Computer of Heart of Gold. Each worse than the other!

    " I can even work out your personality problems to ten decimal places if it'll help. "

  4. frank ly

    Obvious response:

    How the heck can that be patented?? It's an obvious idea (been expressed before in many sci-fi works) and is an obvious extension of existing 'software' modification techniques.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Obvious response:

      But the patent mentions 'Cloud'! It's this year's version of 'on a phone'.

      1. Raumkraut

        Re: Obvious response:

        The obviousness and novelty of patents are judged, not by the patent's abstract (its introduction/summary), nor on media reports of that abstract, nor on commentards' interpretation of media reports of that abstract; but on the actual independent claims identified in the patent application.

        Few people, even those who should (ie. media reporting on the patents), bother to actually read the most important parts of patents before criticising their obviousness.

        1. Jagged

          Re: Obvious response:

          "Few people, even those who should (ie. media reporting on the patents), bother to actually read the most important parts of patents before criticising their obviousness."

          - Are you suggesting there is any actual genuine innovation in this patent? Personally this seems on a par with British Rail's fusion powered flying saucer.

        2. Uffish

          Re: "the most important parts of patents"

          In this instance the most important part of the patent seems to me to be the prior art cited.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Few people, even those who should [...] bother to actually read the [...] patents

          Did you read them? They're bullshit.

          >"We claim:

          1. A method for providing a robot apparatus with a personality, the method comprising: obtaining, by a first device associated with a robotic apparatus, information from a second device, wherein the information relates to communication between a user and the second device containing personification indicators, and wherein the first device is configured to interact with the user; in response to obtaining the information, the first device processing that information to obtain data usable to modify the robotic apparatus so as to provide the robotic apparatus with a personality, wherein processing comprises accessing a cloud computing system and analyzing one or more data of the information selected from the group of (i) characters, (ii) word-choice, and (iii) sentence structure relating to the communication between the user and the second device; and based on the data, the first device modifying the robotic apparatus so as to provide the robotic apparatus with a personality. "

          There's nothing concrete in that. A person skilled in the art couldn't implement anything based on that. It's not even a methods patent, let alone an actual invention, it's a claim on vague concepts. Totally invalid and worthless.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. PNGuinn
      Stop

      Re: Obvious response:

      " Oh, no, not again"

  5. psychonaut

    thats not marvin

    Proper picture please

    1. AdamT

      Re: thats not marvin

      Although the BBC one did feature in the film.

      (he's in the queue in the vogon office)

      1. PNGuinn
        Go

        Re: thats not marvin

        Would that be the Vogon Patent Office?... In a disused lavatory.....

  6. TeeCee Gold badge
    Devil

    Around these parts....

    .....it's been previously observed that Google are becoming alarmingly similar to the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

    This probably proves that this is actually because they are the local office of same.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Zog_but_not_the_first
      Happy

      Re: Around these parts....

      Looking on the bright side, they were first up against the wall when the revolution came.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Around these parts....

        Go og le.

        So 'og' means 'stick your head in' and 'le' means a pig. Obvious really.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sirius Cyberneic Corporation

    Clearly, Google's management face the same fate as Sirius Cybernetic Corporation, come the revolution.

    1. Jedit Silver badge

      "Google's management face the same fate as Sirius Cybernetic Corporation"

      Nah, they'll just be first out the door. Hopefully they will enjoy their trip through it.

  8. Graham Marsden
    Mushroom

    I'm sure that...

    ... the implementation will be one that we can all Share and Enjoy!

    1. richardcox13

      Re: I'm sure that...

      And hope the sign does not sink...

      Go stick your head in a pig.

  9. Stumpy Pepys

    So long as

    I can get the BBC Marvin (not the Hollywood one), I'll be happy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahh, the BBC Marvin

      If Morrissey was an Android, he'd look like BBC Marvin.

  10. PleebSmash
    Unhappy

    Google on the right track.

    Douglas Adams may have written satire, but at least Marvin was easy to handle. Plus you can replace its personality.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Google on the right track.

      But not the diodes down the left hand side.

  11. Mike Dunderdale

    Google Advertising?

    Go stick your head in a Pig? NSFW methinks.

  12. Alan Edwards

    "And, just as Zaphod Beeblebrox did with the annoying spaceship personality in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

    You mean go to it's main memory bank with a fire axe and give it a re-programming it will never forget? Sounds like a plan...

  13. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Oh dear

    We've had all those patently obvious patents granted simply because of the word 'computer' and/or 'Network' added to something.

    I can't help wondering if we are in for a slew of similar

    s/computer/cloud/

    Patent applicatinos and rubber stamp approvals by the USPTO

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What a great typo!

      >"Patent applicatinos"

      Applicatinos! The elementary particles that patents are composed of! Much like neutrinos, they are shadowy and insubstantial and can pass through thousands of miles of solid rock (the skull of a patent examiner) without interacting with anything at all... :)

  14. PNGuinn
    Thumb Up

    Hmmm...

    Android "Marvin"

    Windows "Gonads"

    IOS "Ford Cortina"

    Umbongo "Z<something or other> Zaphod"

    Jolla "Heart of Gold"

    systemd "Belgium"

    I'm too bored to go on... and I've got this pain in all the diodes...

  15. PNGuinn
    Black Helicopters

    "published on March 31"

    Just re-read the article. Someone jumped the gun there. Day too early.

    Just like the Vogons!

    Help! the Vogons are running the USPO!!!

  16. Tikimon
    Devil

    Am I really the first to say "SEXBOT"???

    No way, 25 comments down and none of you dirty-minded lot have suggested sex bots yet? Have another cuppa, you need to wake up.

    Whatever else they have in mind, a partnership with RealDoll is obvious. Celebrities indeed!

    And on the Unintended Security Flaw front, your personalized bot-behaviors will be hacked, and world+dog will know about your "I Dream of Jeannie" fetish. "Yes, Master!"

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Am I really the first to say "SEXBOT"???

      You mean something that stops every 30 seconds to play an advert at you and you end up getting a virus from? No thanks.

    2. Martin Budden
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Am I really the first to say "SEXBOT"???

      Why are you talking about celebrities and personalities at the same time?

  17. martinusher Silver badge

    its not new....

    I seem to remember that after the problems with the lift that was equipped with precognition ("I'm only doing this because I like your robot") someone patented a device called a 'staircase'. Prior art be damned, its what you can get away with.

  18. crediblywitless

    It used to be fairly clear that Sirius Cybernetics was Microsoft. Adams seems to have had the whole of corporate IT in mind, indefinitely. Did Robin Williams protect his image against 'Bicentennial Man' exploitation?

  19. RyokuMas
    Black Helicopters

    Someone at the Chocolate Factory doesn't realise that Douglas Adams wrote satire, and has patented replaceable robot personalities.

    ... but "creepy spy" will be only behaviour that cannot be opted out from.

  20. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    wait a second

    I think futurama covered this too.even down to the cloud storage part and using personalities of known people.

    That didn't end well either.

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