Roger and Vonita Byous were surprised when an anniversary card from their son arrived in the mail. They were even more surprised by the unrecognizable handwriting inside.
“I just started wondering, ‘Whaaat?’ ” said Roger, 73. “It didn’t look quite right, but we couldn’t figure out why.”
It turned out, the Somerset, Ky., couple later learned, their son hadn’t picked up the pen that scripted his heartfelt congratulations on 48 years of wedded bliss. A robot had.
“It wasn’t exactly a personal touch,” Roger said, but “we’re glad he remembered us.”
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.