Friday, April 27, 2007

Me And My Android

That photo is beyond creepy for more reasons than I can list here.

On the right is a Japanese robotics expert. On the left is his robot.And apparently it's a very convincing avatar of the man himself. The face is filled with more than 50 sensors and points of movement, and the scientist can speak through, see through its eyes (via cameras) and generally live inside his doppelganger in a virtual reality kind of way.

Fascinating, and slightly horrifying, to think that those who can afford to do so will be able to soon order up a new version of themselves, which can be upgraded as technology improves, and repaired in ways that the human version can't be. Basically, you can get another version of yourself made that never grows old, never sleeps and which you can engage in conversation.

Just how ready is the human race for this kind of thing? Not very, but it such a revolution is unlikely to cause much of a fuss. The only panic created will be by those who want their own synthetic version of themselves but can't yet get one because robot makers will become so overwhelmed by the demand.

Bizarre, yet extremely interesting. The inventor can actually speak his own thoughts through the mouth of the robot.

Could we actually see reality where those who can afford it will be able to send their replicant self out into the real world, while they stay at home, with virtual reality googles and microphone in place, to udertake their their duties?


I've been following the growth of robotics even since reading Philip K Dick's synthetic human novels (Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, We Can Build You) as a teenager, but even this avalanche of replicant reality is taking a while to sink in. So much to think about. Not all of it good.

Westworld is closer than you think.

From the UK Daily Mail :
Japanese robotics expert Hiroshi Ishiguro has unveiled a robot doppelganger of himself.

Germinoid is a humanoid robot designed in his creator's image, down to the tiniest of details.

It sits on a chair and gazes around the room in a very human-like fashion, just like its creator.

Implanted beneath Geminoid's skin are 50 sensors and motors that can be controlled by simple movements Dr Ishiguro makes.

He can see through its 'eyes', talk through its internal speaker and shrug or scowl if prodded and poked. Compressed air forced through its body make Geminoid's chest rise and fall as if breathing.

Dr Ishiguro believes robots like Geminoid will in future allow people to be where they cannot be. Speaking through Geminoid, he says, has become natural, an extension of himself.

The close similarity between Dr Ishiguro and his robotic replica has caused some curious psychological effects, he said.

"When the body of Geminoid is touched by somebody, I get very similar feelings of being touched," he said.

Go Here To Read The Full Story

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