A collaboration between Media company Dwango, Osaka University’s Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, and the department store chain Parco showcased to the public their android idol-raising project Androidol U at the Ikebukuro Parco store in Tokyo while being streamed live by Niconico.
Androidol U’s artificial intelligence program was able to answer questions and speak live during the broadcast where “she” asked the people attending the event if they were surprised by “her” existence ash “she” introduced herself as a 22 years old, and then gradually moved on to mundane topics like talking about the cold weather. A live chat of reactions from viewers online of the live stream were displayed on a screen during the presentation.
Leading the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro discussed the project at the event and said “Abruptly releasing a human-like robot into the world is difficult. This will be an interesting experiment to see if people think that things such as consciousness and heart belong to an android that has presence.”
The popular shopping district Ikebukuro Parco plans to use Androidol U as an “image girl” to hold promotions and also perhaps serve as an information staff “employee” to manage the store for a day.
How many years will it take for the West to no longer cringe at the sight of what our predominantly religious based sensibilities would consider an abomination such as a robot being built to mimic human life? Hopefully not too long, considering areas of science fiction has been toting this inevitability for generations… So it’s only perfect that anything weird and socially awkward would have to be tested in Japan first then.