From Technology Review: About two months ago, a new employee arrived on the production line at Vanguard Plastics in Southington, Connecticut, a town that was once a hub of U.S. manufacturing but saw many of its factories disappear in the 1960s. The small manufacturer’s new worker, Baxter, is six feet tall, 300 pounds, and a robot. For a hulking machine, Baxter is remarkably expressive. A pair of eyes on the screen that serves as a face stare down as the robot picks up plastic components, look concerned when it makes a mistake, and direct its glance at its next task when one is finished. It’s cute. But the real point of these expressions is that they let workers nearby know instantly if Baxter is performing appropriately, and they provide clues to what it is about to do next.

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