Jay Allen

Welcome To The Future With Jay Allen: Handwriting Robots

By November 1, 2021 No Comments

Digitization has long reached deep into people’s lives: Family photos are in the cloud. Mom’s recipes are indexed on an app. Breakups can arrive overnight, via text. Now technology is being deployed to try to replicate a human touch, as a growing number of consumers turn to pen-wielding robots that can mimic the loops and patterns of the human hand.

These robot-scribed cards and letters are testing the proposition that machines can generate the intimacy of a handwritten note. Some services include smudges and ink blots in their mailings. Others program the robots to be imprecise — varying the pressure on the pens, for example, or inconsistently sizing characters and spacing — to make the writing appear believably human.

Writing has been a cornerstone of civilization since the Sumerians introduced cuneiform 5,000 years ago. But it wasn’t until the typewriter came along, about 150 years ago, that historians say handwriting took on new meaning as an intimate and revealing form of communication.

Even so, written correspondence is on the decline. On average, American households now receive one personal letter every 10 weeks, according to the U.S. Postal Service, about half what they did a decade ago. Americans mailed 42 percent fewer holiday cards in 2018 than they did in 2008.

With all this at play, it’s clear that handwriting robots are not going anywhere. In fact, they are on the rise so as these services pick up, we can also expect the art of handwritten notes, cards, and letters will be an ever present reality in the near future.

To read the full article from the Washington Post, you can click here!

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