Japanese professor creates uncanny human-like android robots
A professor in Japan has created android robots that make the plot of Will Smith’s “I, Robot” possible, and they pose a striking resemblance to human beings.
These robots can talk, act and breathe just like humans and have the potential to act as newscasters and receptionists.
In fact, they almost look more real than human beings.
This was the goal of Hiroshi when he was creating the humanoid robot: to make it as indistinguishable in behaviour and appearance from a human being as possible.
They are part of an interactive display at a museum in Japan.
Here are a few of these things in action:
The introduction of these robots into our society could create some problems. As a presenter of these androids said at a conference, he sees them as being the future of telecommunications.
Will we begin to see these robots fill job spots involving repetitive tasks and data management? What about factory jobs? The creation of fully operational and functional human robots could have some serious economic implications.
They are nowhere near that advanced in their behavior yet however. In fact, they don’t even control themselves yet.
They are controlled by someone behind the scenes who speaks through them and moves their mouths and arms with computer software. They are nonetheless a huge milestone for human ingenuity.
What was his inspiration for creating these humanoids? Here is professor Ishiguro talking his reasons for taking on such a project:
These things are a scientific marvel. Although they lack things like freedom of the will, rationality, and subjectivity, they seem to be capable of basic human interactions.
He recently revealed 2 more at the National Museum of Merging Science and Innovation this year. Here they are being interviewed:
What would happen if we were one day able to give these androids human-like processing capabilities? What if we could somehow replicate human intelligence within them, and program them to be behaviourally identical to us?
IBM is famous for creating a supercomputer that they call “Watson”, which is a cognitive technology that can do exactly what humans do.
It uses programmatic computing plus the combination of three additional capabilities: natural language processing, hypothesis generation and evaluation, and dynamic learning.
Through repeated use, Watson literally gets smarter by tracking feedback from its users and learning from both successes and failures. So this cognitive computer can literally read, generate hypotheses, learn, and hold a conversation. Here is a video of Watson beating humans in Jeopardy:
If I were professor Ishiguro, I would be contacting IBM to try to combine the world of androids with the world of cognitive technology.
We have all of the technology we need to create a world similar to that in I Robot. The only question is, do we want that?
Imagine having a robot driving your taxi, or acting as your assistant at work. What impacts would that have on our civilization, both socially and existentially?