Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Oct 2012)

typed for your pleasure on 5 October 2012, at 12.24 am

Sdtrk: ‘Sheets of solid gold’ by Zoos of Berlin

Are there any Synthetiks-related news? Are there really? In the words of the Magic 8-ball, ‘Reply hazy, try again.’ No wait; I meant ‘It is decidedly so.’ O, Magic 8-ball, you so random.

+ When not engineering more of those gorgeous Actroids, roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro periodically creates Androids as well. You’ve seen his Synthetik twin Geminoid HI-1 of course, as well as Geminoid-DK, the servo-driven clone of Henrik Scharfe. Ishiguro-san’s recent project would be an Android replica of Beichō Katsura III. Unless you’re familiar with rakugo, you’ll have no idea who this bloke is. I didn’t even know what rakugo was until I first heard of this Android, so we’re in the same boat. It’s essentially comedy storytelling, done by a single performer seated on stage, with the only props at his disposal being a paper fan and a hankerchief. Apparently Noriko Watanabe, assistant professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature at Baruch College, described it as ‘a sitcom with one person playing all the parts’. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)
But we’re not here to talk about rakugo! HOLY CRAP STOP ASKING ME RAKUGO-RELATED QUESTIONS. Look at this video instead!

A total of 53 degrees of freedom were required in order to replicate the storyteller’s facial expressions and gestures. Its movements were based on those of Beicho’s eldest son, also a rakugo performer, who mimicked his father’s movements by watching a video. The vocal portion of its performance will be an earlier audio recording of the man himself.
the entire article is here

Katsura-san is apparently one of the foremost rakugo performers in the nation, to the extent that he’s considered a Living National Treasure. It’s kinda neat, if you think about it: Katsura-san is currently in his late eighties, and rakugo, while still being performed today, is becoming more and more of a niche market with contemporary generations. So an Android version of one of the foremost practitioners of the art ensures that there will be a way to experience a rakugo performance for years to come, thereby neatly combining the past with the future. Bearing that in mind, Ishiguro-san… why don’t you see about employing one of those lovely Actroids as a shamisen-playing geisha?
What? Was that too obvious?

+ Just when you thought 4woods were showing signs of slowing down, well, they aren’t. No, they’re speeding up. Not only have they released three new heads — Hikaru, Manami, and Michelle — but there’s two new bodies that prospective buyers have to consider when selecting their lass: the NEO-J/im, and the A.I.Doll S-plus. The latter choice either reminds me of the Gundam Zeta Plus series of mobile suits, or the S Gundam, both from Mobile suit Gundam Sentinel. Mecha are fantastic, yes, but you can’t really take one to bed with you. But I suppose that really depends on the size of your bed.


Hikaru, modelling the NEO-J/im body by sitting on a desk

Released back in March, the NEO-J/im body is a revised version of the smaller-yet-popular NEO-J body which debuted back in 2006. ‘Its young beautiful girl-like body line, and sensitive design, skin texture and beauty will surely make your heart scream with excitement’, reads the site’s ad copy. As much as I adore artificial women, I’m not sure I’d want a Doll that would cause my heart to, y’know, start screaming. That’s some Edgar Allan Poe level madness right there. I mean, how would I sleep?

Then there’s the fifth A.I.Doll body, the S-plus, or S+, if you’re in a hurry. At 5’2″ and 60 lbs, and with appealing measurements of B30.W22.H34, she also sports a silicone body with sculpted muscle tone, sculpted veins, and sculpted bone structure, as well as an improved hip joint function for better intimacy. Cheers, 4woods! And what can the site add to that in its own inimitable style? ‘She also offers a beautiful curve, soft looking stomach and thighs, and a cute bouncy hipline which makes you want to rub your face on’. See, I’ll take that over a yelling bladder screaming heart any day of the week. *rub rub rub*


Manami, auditioning as an Allen Jones model


Is Michelle putting on her stockings, or taking them off? A question for the ages

Admittedly, Michelle looks loads better as a blonde with blue eyes; 4woods recognise the fact that 1) there are people in other countries who don’t exclusively want Asian-looking Dolls that the company make, and 2) there are people in Japan who don’t exclusively want Asian-looking Dolls that the company make. As is the way of 4woods, most of the photos of their lasses have them proudly posing clothing-free, which means you’ll have to click here to see a skyclad Manami, and here for Michelle in the same.
It’s funny; recently I tried to access ‘Shouting etc etc’ from a public library, and was unable to do so, which is a complaint I’ve heard from a few other readers. It’s blocked for pornographic reasons, despite the fact that I’ve made an effort not to show off any Doll nipples. Of course, ‘an effort’ doesn’t mean the site’s 100% nipple-free, but more like 98%. Bearing my findings in mind, I may just throw up my hands and start posting photos of topless Dolls with the next update. We’ll see. So, ah, I hope you like nipples?

+ This would be a very brief, but insightful article by Dan Chen, entitled ‘How Is Intimacy With Robots Different From Intimacy With People?

Human emotions are very complex—it has to do with memories, past experiences, and personality. I think intimacy between robots and people is different from person to person, and some people might find deeper intimacy with robots than with humans. (Example: Some people likes animals more than people.) Mental commitments are needed for people to create a sense of intimacy with the robot, as with people. In other words, if the person “plays along” with what the robot suggests as intimacy, the level of intimacy could be stronger than those who don’t.

But in general, intimacy with robots is usually diluted because of a lack of things such as micro movement and micro expressions, and tone of the voice. Robotic intimacy is not as rich compared with a real person, but could be more reliable. Having said that, the technology could advance enough to duplicate those actions as well, and in that case, there won’t be any difference.

That’s it! You’ve just read the entire article. But what he’s said is important: if an Organik getting into an intimate relationship with a Synthetik realises that fact ahead of time and goes along with whatever simulated emotions that the Synthetik feels, then in essence, those ‘fake’ emotions become genuine. Sure, one could argue that robots could be programmed to lie, but really, how is that different than dealing with lies from a flesh-and-blood person? If, for instance, an Organik has a Synthetik partner tailor-made for them, then unless they’ve specified so, the Synthetik wouldn’t tell them any mistruths, thereby eliminating a huge obstacle right there. And once again, if you’re connecting with a being who by nature doesn’t lie, then there’s no reason to believe that whatever they tell you isn’t from the heart. Or their equivalent, at any rate.

+ When I’m not dragging them with me, chain gang-style, to make speaking engagements, Sinthetics would be busy fulfilling orders, and in between that, also working on developing new heads for their alluring Polymerisians. Such as their brand-new Celestine, for example.

As you’ll recall, they have a head named Celeste, and thanks to a special request from a purchaser, Matt K has developed a slightly more mature version of that head, hence the name. To me, she looks MILFy! A bit like an evil MILF, one that’s head of directors at a fashion magazine. Her hobbies include champagne for breakfast, buying expensive European cars, emasculating at least one male employee a day, and playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Would you believe they also have photoshoots posted over there? It’s true! They’ve got a lot of sexytime going on over there.


Left: a Body 1B Yuriko; right: a Body 1H Kimiko. Below: two shades of Monique

There’s also another photoshoot with a Body 1H Celeste and a Body 1B Alicia… err, interacting… with each other, if you’re keen on that sort of thing. Well done, Sinthetics!

+ And lastly, thanks to Vulgarian, fellow iDollators Euchre and Bel’Shanar, and I think one or two others (I apologise for forgetting your names), as they’d brought this video to my attention. If you’re one of the handful of people in the first world who haven’t seen the very impressive visuals and compelling story that make up this video, then you’ll enjoy this: Quantic dream’s ‘Kara’.

Back in March, someone on Sidore’s tumblr asked if we had seen it, and Shi-chan responded in kind. As she’d accurately predicted, I’m copying her review/response pretty much entirely, only making it spoiler-free. Plagiarism: that’s what spouses are for!

The graphics are pretty astounding, needless to say, but the best/most relevant aspect of it is that it kinda reinforces what my lad and I have been saying for years: Synthetiks are people too. A film like this, displaying the way an advanced humanoid robot and the way she reacts […] is much, MUCH better fare than the rubbish that most people think concerning ‘robots will take over and kill us all’. A film like this shows that artificial humans, particularly ones with feelings, have just as much right to exist as flesh-and-blood humans.

You can learn more about the story behind the making of ‘Kara’, and the technology used to create it, here.

More! Synthetik!! News!!! Soon!!!! Exclamation mark!!!!!

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

EveR-1's next goal: hosting a chat show on June 23rd, 2006

A valid point / Writer's block No. 23,050 on May 4th, 2007

7 have spoken to “Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Oct 2012)”

  1. Cayora writes:

    Hello! This is my first time commenting, but I have been following your blog for a while. I was wondering, have you read The Silver Metal Lover, by Tanith Lee? It is a bit of a romance, but it deals with the relationship between a robot and a human in a really interesting way. I bring it up because the human partner in the book keeps having trouble because she assumes anything the robot feels is fake, and therefore he cannot love her back. At one point, she decides it does not matter because she loves him regardless. I wonder if this dynamic would play out in reality.

    Also, I very much enjoyed that short film. I had not seen it before. Thank you for posting it.

  2. Gertrude Stein writes:

    Does the wife get mad when you look at pics of other dolls? 😉

  3. Davecat writes:

    Cayora (long-time listener, first-time caller) —
    I’ve heard of ‘The Silver Metal Lover’, but up until now, I’d never had any inclination to read it. Well, that’s certainly changed!

    Not everyone will be inclined to agree that if an artificial person has (programmes resembling) emotions, that those simulated emotions will be real, but it depends on the mindset of the Organik. Some people will just refuse it flat out, while others may initially balk, but change their opinions after interacting with a Synthetik. It depends on the Organik’s suspension of disbelief. When you consider that most people use that same suspension if they’re engrossed in any work of fiction, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to do the same in a real-life context. Again, it depends on the Organik. I’m remaining hopeful. 🙂

    Gertrude Stein (quite a body of work you’ve assembled) —
    Hardly! As she is, in her own words, rabidly bisexual, half the time, she’s pointing out photos of other Dolls to me! I mean, have you seen her tumblr? She’s pretty obsessed!

  4. Peter Synthetik & Miss July writes:

    That`s a very great question by Gertrude Stein !
    I had long discussion`s with my home girl Miss July and she told me,she does`t no what jealousie is.
    She don`t care,if I stare at Eva Green in Dark Shadows,or Kristen Stewart as Snow White,or listen to Lana Del Rey and watch her video`s…
    Even if I put doll pic`s on my harddisk – she only want to watch them too.
    By the way : we don`t have a word for “doll” in germany.
    Most of the people took the wrong word “Puppe” instead.This is similar to puppet (on a string),but that means “Marionette” which is actual a frech word.
    Kraftwerk have this great track : “Schaufensterpuppen” – they made an english version of there LP T.E.E. and they called the song : showroom dummy`s.
    I thing,that`s complete nonsense.
    I`m not sure,but do you call dolls standing behind a shop window mannequin`s in the US?
    That`s again a french word.
    I learned at “vocational school”(college),that they are called : shop window figure.
    What`s the difference between an action figure and a doll?
    Only dolls,that look like babies,should be called “Puppen”(they teach me)- difficult stuff.
    Back to your article :
    The 4woods Hikaru is very lovely – nice clothing,sweet victory sign (do they pay you for advertising?).
    Of course we like nipples!
    Miss July got medium ones,she also would like to have small or porky`s !
    I had no problem with a robot telling me sweet lies.
    Real feelings are frightening.
    It`s much easier to love “things”,or pay for a pretender and less painful.
    Thanx for the reply on Miss July`s comment – she`s very proud.
    We where reading it with pleasure !! 🙂

  5. Davecat writes:

    Herr Synthetik (and Fräulein July Synthetik) —

    In our world of iDollators, it seems less common for our artificial partners to be jealous of us looking at other Dolls or Gynoids. On Sidore’s old vanity website, ‘Kitten with a Whip!’, she mentioned that she’s bisexual, but then she went further to add that as she’s a Doll, technically speaking, she’s omnisexual. Those outside of our community may find it a bit strange, but I think it’s just because our silicone partners are less inhibited than the standard (Organik) person, by and large…

    That’s interesting that there’s no word for Doll in German; almost as interesting as the fact that we refer to showroom mannequins with a French word, even in English! If I’m not mistaken, the French word Mannequin means ‘model’, which pretty much applies in this instance, but in the same context as, say, Claudia Schiffer or Nadja Auermann; which is to say that they model clothing. Besides, the word mannequin is a bit more graceful than the term ‘shop window figure’, I think!
    The difference, I think, between an action figure and a Doll is size and usage. Dolls seem to be more made for receiving affection, whether they’re made for little girls, or for big boys. 😉 An action figure, it seems, is just for playing with. As you’ve undoubtedly seen on our shelves, I’ve loads of action figures, but they don’t receive an eight of the attention that I lavish on Shi-chan!
    And Kraftwerk’s Schaufensterpuppen/Showroom dummies is good, but not as good as Europa endlos, in my opinion. 🙂

    Ha, I wish 4woods, or any of the Doll manufacturers, paid me for advertising! I’m doing it to increase society’s awareness of Dolls and iDollator culture, and I’m doing it for the love.

    Real feelings are okay, but all too often, it seems that they can abused or taken for granted. It seems that a lot of the time, one Organik person’s feelings are often used to another Organik person’s disavantage. A Synthetik person doesn’t have any hidden agendas, so their Organik partner would be free to love them without fear. Which is how it should be.

    And glad to hear that Ms July enjoyed my responses! Always a pleasure having you two pop in! But you knew that. Seien Sie vorsichtig! 🙂

  6. Andy writes:

    As a German I can’t really see what should be “wrong” with the German word “Puppe” for “doll”.

  7. PBShelley writes:

    Ach! For some reason I wasn’t notified of this post and missed it! Reading down the article, going mm-hmm, ooo, nice and so on until I got to the video… HOLY SHIT THEY DO NOT MAKE CAPS LARGE ENOUGH TO CONVEY HOW AWESOME IT IS. So there. Wow!

    Loved it; thanks. So moving. I forget how largely apathetic the public feels toward “inanimate objects” having valid feelings; apathetic = “unimaginable”. This lack of imagination (not to mention curiosity, wonder, and Play) is seriously problematic. Shouldn’t be, but it’s a “lack” and so its absence is invisible. Sad.

    Such people would rather prefer dolls either as Barbies or as homicidal killing machines. Funny they have no problem imagining THAT. Which sadly makes sense, given the general preoccupation with violence and shallow relationships.

    Two videos come to mind, which I’m sure you must’ve seen; Andy Huang’s Doll Face and Bjork’s “All Is Full of Love” video; seek them out 😉 Or better yet, here:
    Doll: http://youtu.be/zl6hNj1uOkY
    Bjork: http://youtu.be/AjI2J2SQ528

    Anyway, the Kara clip would make a great intro to a movie; worlds of possibilities on the other end of that conveyor! I can think of lots of stories as a result of its playing with my imagination 😉

    That’s why it’s good!

    Regards,
    PBS & all the rest

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