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Marc Raibert

Increasingly human-like robots spark fascination and fear

Sporting a trendy brown bob, a humanoid robot named Erica chats to a man in front of stunned audience members in Madrid. She and others like her are a prime focus of robotic research, as their uncanny human form could be key to integrating such machines into our lives, said researchers gathered this week at the annual International Conference on Intelligent Robots. "You mentioned project management. Can you please tell me more?" Erica, who is playing the role of an employer, asks the man. She may not understand the…