I read an article on Gizmodo recently, how some Japanese researchers want their government to fund a long-term program to develop a robot with the capabilities of a five-year-old.

Now, as a techophile, I’m all for this.  I completely understand that solving the problems of a five-year-old puts you well on your way to understanding human development and capabilities, and will likely generate all kinds of useful spin-off technology.

But these folks don’t know jack about marketing.  What kind of selling point is it to say “we will reproduce a child, mentally, physically, and emotionally”?  Big battle robots sell.  Cute fuzzy robots that take care of our grandparents sell.  Shoot, small metal dogs sell – everyone loves dogs!

Maybe I’m wrong – maybe your typical politico will just tear over at the thought of a little mechanical pre-schooler.  But somehow, I doubt it.