OFF INTO THE WILD WET YONDER How does this...
In the Land of the Rising Sun (and falling demographics), lifelike robots report to work.
Osaka University’s profoundly creative and eccentric professor Hiroshi Ishiguro continues to push boundaries with his humanoids, with two of his most recent creations now “working” at Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, in Odaiba, Tokyo.
“Kodomoroid,” which resembles a girl (kodomo is Japanese for child/children), fills the role of daily news announcer, while “Otonaroid,” which resembles a woman (otona means adult), serves as a science guide for visitors to a new permanent exhibition. Both have the ability to speak several different languages and (although always seated) the ability to use their upper bodies, including facial gestures.
The word “creepy” seems to be most commonly used to describe these humanoids, but I’m not sure that’s a fair assessment of the situation. Many believe what we are witnessing is the beginning of the end of the human being as we know it—and no, this concept isn’t meant to be morose or bleak. The idea that information, robotics, and humanity are merging to create a better world now seems not only possible but rather unstoppable.