Breaking news: robots may soon report your breaking news. Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan just unveiled a pair of robots, called Kodomoroid and Otonaroid, that appear extremely human and demonstrate better language skills than a lot of real humans I know—at least, it sounds that way. It’s hard to be sure when they’re speaking a language I don’t understand.
It’s also hard to be sure when I’m too busy staring at their creepy movements and having uncanny valley-related brain issues. They look pretty lifelike at a distance, until they start moving and talking with tiny, ventriloquist-like mouth movements. And if you had any doubt that robots are trying to take all of our jobs, Kodomoroid said, “My dream when I grow older is to have my own TV program. If you hear about a newscaster job, please let me know.”
Hey, at least when the robots steal everyone’s job, humans will have plenty of leisure time for
getting enslaved by our robot overlords whatever we’d rather be doing. Don’t take my word for it, though. You can see them in action in this video from AFP News, but don’t blame me for the nightmares you get from their blank stares and eerie movements.
The two androids will be on display at Tokyo’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation starting Wednesday, where people will be able to interact with them and hopefully learn their weaknesses—like the fact that they can’t actually even stand up yet. According to professor Ishiguro, their purpose is to explore how humans interact with humanoid robots, since robotics are becoming much cheaper and more accessible.
Ishiguro doesn’t think his creations are creepy, and he thinks humans can learn to interact with robots that look like people instead of taking on the appearance of electronics and TVs. I’m not sure I’m on board just yet, and I don’t think I’m alone. Robots that look like TVs can be pretty great.
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