In Tokyo, two robotic terrors have just slithered their way out of the uncanny valley in order to demonstrate just how unsettlingly almost humanlike they are. According to reports, their levels of "unsettling almost humanlike-ness" is "extremely high."
This morning, Japanese scientists unveiled two female-looking robots named Kodomoroid ("child-roid") and Otonaroid ("adult-roid"). The 'roids apparently possess perfect language skills and a sense of humor, which is more than I can say for myself most days. "Making androids is about exploring what it means to be human, examining the question of what is emotion, what is awareness, what is thinking," said their creator, Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University, as he introduced them to the world.
And explore what it means to be human they did: the pair successfully accomplished lots of human stuff in a demonstration (the video of which won't embed for some reason, probably a precursor of our inevitable war with these machines).
In the words of the Associated Press:
In a demonstration, the remote-controlled machines moved their pink lips in time to a voice-over, twitched their eyebrows, blinked and swayed their heads from side to side. They stay seated but can move their hands.
In a clear triumph, Kodomoroid read the news without stumbling once and recited complex tongue-twisters glibly.
That sounds exactly like what I do all day at work. Actually, the robots may have already outstripped me in terms of competence because I'm really bad at tongue-twisters.
According to an AFP report, Otonaroid fluffed her lines and had to reboot — excusing herself by saying, "I'm a little bit nervous." Which, to reiterate, is deeply terrifying to me. (Also, it's very unfair that humans can't politely reboot when we fuck up in public.)
In related the-singularity-approaches news, Japanese company Softbank Corp. will start selling a robot named Pepper for about $2,000 later this year. "Robots are now becoming affordable — no different from owning a laptop," Ishiguro announced. EXCEPT MY LAPTOP DOESN'T WIGGLE THOSE WEIRD HAM-FISTS AT ME AND PURPORT TO EXPERIENCE NERVOUSNESS.
Image via AP.