Sdtrk: ‘Apprentice takes leave’ by The new lines
And welcome back! It’s been a fortnight, which is a not-too-unreasonable length of time between these posts. I would’ve just immediately written this after posting January’s submission, but I’d spent about a week and a half editing a 33 page draft created by one of of the interviewers who was round to Deafening silence Plus last Autumn. Well, I say editing, but it was more like ‘making corrections and answering additional questions she had cleverly embedded in the text'; but that bit’s done. Those 33-odd pages pertain to me and my Synthetik lovers, so we’re quite excited about it! Overall, it seems like the book she’s writing will be as in-depth as Elisabeth Alexandre’s ‘Des poupées et des hommes: Enquête sur l’amour artificiel‘, only en Anglais!
Just before I’d finished that up, I’d begun a dialogue with another interviewer — this one from Australia — and her questions are rather heady as well, so I’m currently in the midst of attending to those. It doesn’t help that my desire for clarity as far as the subject of Synthetiks is often accompanied by far too much of my goddamned text, so at the very least, when I finish her questions, she won’t go away hungry.
And when I’m done with that, the previous interviewer wants me to write a piece in response to what she’s already written! I mean, damn. Don’t get me wrong; I’m really enjoying doing this sort of thing, but when am I gonna find time to play Destiny?? Well, the demo. I haven’t bought the actual game yet, as I’m too busy writin’.
+ Another AEE AVN OMG WTF BBQ has come and gone, and Las Vegas was once again witness to several silicone women staying for a number of days in the city’s hotels. Abyss creations were there, revealing to the world their brand-new addition to their Wicked RealDoll line, Asa Akira.
This alluring rubber lass weighs +/-70 lbs, stands 5’2″, has measurements of B:34 / W:24 / H:34, and wears a 32C bra and a 5.5 US shoe. Being a Wicked RealDoll means she’s also made standard with an articulated spine, a removable throat insert (which leads down into her neck, instead of simply going back further into her head), and a removable head design, which is fashioned more like a whole-head mask, as opposed to traditional RealDolls such as my Missus, who can just remove her face. Personally, I’m fond of the somewhat shiny quality she has to her face, as it highlights her artificiality, but that’s just me. Overall, quite nice!
+ The esteemed roboticist Rodney Brooks has a few intelligent words to say: Artificial intelligence is a tool, not a threat:
Recently there has been a spate of articles in the mainstream press, and a spate of high profile people who are in tech but not AI, speculating about the dangers of malevolent AI being developed, and how we should be worried about that possibility. I say relax. Chill. This all comes from some fundamental misunderstandings of the nature of the undeniable progress that is being made in AI, and from a misunderstanding of how far we really are from having volitional or intentional artificially intelligent beings, whether they be deeply benevolent or malevolent.
[…] In order for there to be a successful volitional AI, especially one that could be successfully malevolent, it would need a direct understanding of the world, it would need to have the dexterous hands and/or other tools that could out manipulate people, and to have a deep understanding of humans in order to outwit them. Each of these requires much harder innovations than a winged vehicle landing on a tree branch. It is going to take a lot of deep thought and hard work from thousands of scientists and engineers. And, most likely, centuries.
the entire article is here
Everyday society gets its knickers so easily in a twist about robots ‘taking over’, which is both overly ambitious, and flat-out silly. Rodney breaks it down better than I can as to why that won’t happen, but then, he’s smarter than I am. After all, he helped developed the Roomba!
+ As you should be aware, not every Synthetik has the capacity for sex, which is perfectly fine. A Synthetik is also more than capable of providing platonic companionship, or being an artistic model, or perhaps serving as an artistic muse, as Lily Godwin was to my friend, PB Shelley. Bearing that in mind, as he and Lily had Soony, a BJD (that’s Ball-Jointed Doll, for those not in the know), they may also have been besotted with Iris, the 1/1 scale BJD built by Chinese company Magical Angel in October of 2013.
‘Of course I can give you a hug! You might need a stepladder for it, though’
There aren’t a lot of lifesized BJDs in existence — Izi made by D-storic is one, Obitsu’s 150cm model is another — so they’re certainly unique. With a body made of resin, Iris towers over humanity at 5’9″. She weighs 55 lbs, her measurements are B:32 / W:23 / H:35, and she wears a sz 6 US shoe. You can purchase her in either a pink, white, or snow white skintone, and she takes 30mm size eyes, in case you want to keep your options open. She looks to be unfinished, so you’ll have to have her faceup done (that’s the term in the BJD world for ‘makeup’, for those not in the know). Although if you get her in snow white and leave her face as-is, she looks as if she’d make a female counterpart to Kamelion, the short-lived companion on Doctor Who. I’d advise against it, though; no-one liked Kamelion.
She’s got better posture than most people I know
Speaking of cultivating your DiY abilities, if you order an Iris to grace your home, you’ll either want to open your wallet a bit wider, or get your tools ready and set aside a whole day. Because of her considerable weight, Magical Angel’s default option is to ship Iris unassembled. But if you want her ready to go when she comes home, you’ll have to add $100 to the shipping cost. The assembly is free, though!
This tall and slender lass will set you back $1,250 USD, incidentally. But have you seen her posture??
+ Once again, Japan continues to innovate in both technology and practicality; generally speaking, as a society, they’re pretty fantastic. Not everyone in that country, of course, but quite a few. Doubtless you’ve seen this in the news recently: there’s plans to open a hotel staffed by robots in Nagasaki, at a Dutch-themed park called Huis Ten Bosch. Here’s one of the best bits: the concierge desks will be staffed by lifelike Synthetik women, as Kokoro co., Ltd, creators of the wonderful Actroid series of Gynoids, will be building them. If you don’t find that to be amazing, then I don’t know what to do with you.
The hotel’s first building complex is scheduled to open on 17 July 2015 with 72 rooms, followed by another 72-room building in 2016. A single room will be priced at around $60 (¥7,000) per night and a twin room will cost around $80 (¥9,000).
Initially the hotel will have 10 robot members of staff, but Huis Ten Bosch company President Hideo Sawada told a news conference. “In the future, we’d like to have more than 90 percent of hotel services operated by robots.”
The hotel’s name, Henn-na Hotel, reflects how the hotel will “change with cutting-edge technology,” a company official said. This is a play on words: “Henn” is also part of the Japanese word for change.
the entire article is here
‘We offer a very futuristic experience here, but you’ll still have to pay for hotel wifi’
The room prices are really very good, but what’s not mentioned is that during the peak season, prospective guests will have to bid for their rooms, although there’ll be a price cap on bidding. Ergh. It’ll be worth it for the winners, however: instead of keys, the hotel room’s doors will use facial recognition sensors, and each room will have tablets for its guests’ use, to converse with the front desk, the lobby, or the kitchen. Speaking of speech, the Actroid employees will be able to communicate in English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. Much like I’d said about Shibuya’s Robot restaurant, my hope is that this sort of forward-thinking idea spreads, and if Hen-na Hotel doesn’t exactly become a chain in and of itself of robot-staffed hotels, then hopefully other hotel chains will adopt the idea on a worldwide scale. It’d be nice if they did away with that bidding price silliness as well.
And as a final note, I’d like to offer my services to the Actroids that will be employed there. All that standing hours on end per day will eventually be tiring, so what better way to relax than a foot massage? *cracks knuckles*
+ Phoenix studios (‘Home of the Boy Toy Doll’) haven’t recently created a new head or body, or released a new line, but you might like to know that they’ve uploaded new photos of the newest affictitious vixen in their Celestials series, Sky, to their site.
photos © by Stacy Leigh
Why not take some time to see the Sky? See, Phoenix studios, I’ve just come up with not one, but two slogans you could make use of. As Pete White once remarked, butter me, I’m on a roll.
+ Here’s something interesting that was brought to my attention by AJung Moon, writer and curator of the Roboethics info Database: an article on Live Science by Tanya Lewis entitled Rise of the Fembots: Why Artificial Intelligence Is Often Female.
From Apple’s iPhone assistant Siri to the mechanized attendants at Japan’s first robot-staffed hotel, a seemingly disproportionate percentage of artificial intelligence systems have female personas. Why?
“I think there is a pattern here,” said Karl Fredric MacDorman, a computer scientist and expert in human-computer interaction at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. But “I don’t know that there’s one easy answer,” MacDorman told Live Science.
One reason for the glut of female artificial intelligences (AIs) and androids (robots designed to look or act like humans) may be that these machines tend to perform jobs that have traditionally been associated with women. For example, many robots are designed to function as maids, personal assistants or museum guides, MacDorman said.
In addition, many of the engineers who design these machines are men, and “I think men find women attractive, and women are also OK dealing with women,” he added.
the entire article is here
Don’t forget EDI from the Mass effect videogame series! Or, ah, Portal’s GLaDOS, for that matter.
As much as I (jokingly) (not really) go on about how ‘we need more Gynoids to be built, etc etc’, I also believe that we need just as many humanoid robots designed to look like men as well. Ms Lewis brings up the point that robots made to look like women are perceived as less threatening and more friendly, which I believe to be true; just going by the length and breadth of history alone, men are traditionally more associated with aggressive behaviour. Thanks to Hollywood ridiculousness, when most people think of humanoid robots, their thoughts immediately turn towards images of the Terminator, which are mostly Androids, aka male robots, killing everyone in sight with soulless precision. However, I think that if roboticists start out with humanoid robots made to look like women, they’ll put people more at ease. Roboticists should develop Androids as well, not only to balance the Synthetik gender scale, but to show that male robots can be just as non-threatening as their female counterparts. More than likely, for the first couple of years of production, there will be more Gynoids than Androids until the demand increases, but still.
In reading Ms Lewis’ piece, it reminded me of something I’d read years ago, back when I was a lot more interested in mannequins than I am now, that attempted to explain why there were so few male mannequins compared to the number of female models. I think it was partially attributed to men’s faces being harder to sculpt, as they tend to be more angular, or something like that. In the interest of full disclosure, my own personal uncanny valley — again, more like a ditch — is that I find male mannequins to be a bit off-putting. Unless they’re Kraftwerk, because fuck yeah Kraftwerk.
+ If you’re like me, you hate waiting on things/events/people, as much like Veruca Salt, you want it now. You’ll also recall that she was thrown into a pit by squirrels, but that’s hardly relevant at this juncture. But after several months in Development Hell, Sinthetics are pleased to announce that the Body 2A is available to choose as a selection, so sometimes, waiting is okay.
This body is nearly identical to the body 2D (using the body 2 base, but with A-cup breasts). She has the full hips and bigger legs that makes our body 2 so popular, but slimmer ribs and smaller breasts than the 2D.
This winsome beauty is approx. 77 lbs with a height of 5’5″, has measurements of B:34 / W:24.5 / H:36.5, and wears a US sz 6.5 shoe. Apparently she does do things by halves. See what I did there?
Sinthetics will undoubtedly add more photos of her soon, but you can look at a few teaser shots on their site, of course.
See? Always something to look forward to, especially if you’re keen on robo-ladies. Happy 23rd!