Sdtrk: ‘Date with an angel’ by The caretaker
So far, it seems like there’s been a dearth of proper Doll and/or Synthetik news since the year began. A dearth, I say! And it’s making me a little despondent. See? —> 🙁
However, I managed to discover this recent article touching upon Japan’s latest robotic developments. Does it cover new ground? Err, ish.
Wow, International Rescue’s new uniforms are lookin’ sharp
While engineers in most of the world try to make robots that perform specific and usually unpleasant tasks, from fighting wars to performing deep-sea salvage, Japanese engineers are obsessed with making the machines more human. Having put the country squarely in the lead of the industrial robot market for the past two decades, they’re now working on a new generation of robots that will serve as playmates, pets and social workers. Says [roboticist Norihiro] Hagita: “The goal is to build an intelligent environment for the symbiosis of robots and humans in everyday life. The real challenge is to come up with robots that can actually communicate with people.” […]
That emphasis on the future function of robots as companions and helpers seems to be deeply Japanese. The reason may have much to do with Japanese popular culture, where robots like the cartoon cat Doraemon or the sweet 1960s, vintage Astroboy, tend to be portrayed as beneficent, friendly types. The tendency to regard lifelike machines as unthreatening may have deeper roots in Japan’s animist Shinto culture, where inanimate objects—ranging from teapots to samurai swords—can have souls. There’s also the social imperative: as the population ages, the Japanese are increasingly looking toward robots to help make up the labor shortfall.
the complete article is here. N.B.: It’s on Newsweek.com, so it’s got a limited posting lifespan
Once again, the point is brough up that Japanese culture is much more accepting of the concept of artificial life: they don’t think in baseless terms of ‘zOMG teh androids are going to take over and kill us all’ — they see them, really, as assistants, aides, and partners, which only makes sense. If the States expects to compete at all in the robotics development field, there’s going to have to be a giant shift of cultural thinking over here — in other words, a swift and overall flood of common sense. Heh, otherwise, I’m gonna have to take off for Japan…
Also relevant: an article on Physorg.com, concerning South Korea developing a ‘Robot Ethics Charter’.
A five-member task force including experts, futurists and a science fiction writer began work last November.
“The government plans to set ethical guidelines concerning the roles and functions of robots as robots are expected to develop strong intelligence in the near future,” the ministry said in a statement.
As South Korean society ages due to a low birth rate, various service robots which “think” for themselves will come into use in the not too distant future and become “key companions to human beings,” it said.
“Imagine if some people treat androids as if the machines were their wives. Others may get addicted to interacting with them just as many Internet users get hooked to the cyberworld,” Park Hye-Young of the ministry’s robot team told AFP.
emphasis mine (of course); the complete article is here
Not entirely sure if what Park Hye-Young meant was supposed to be pejorative, but as far as I’m concerned, the wives/husbands angle is a definite goal. To be honest, that’s one of the reasons that Shi-chan and I make spectacles of ourselves in print and on television: the way I see it, Androids and Gynoids are literally just around the corner; they probably won’t be commonplace for a good 30 – 40 years, but Synthetik humans will eventually be a slowly growing part of the populace. After our own fashion, Sidore and I are just trying to get society accustomed to the idea of an Organik person being in a relationship with a Synthetik one, or vice versa. Frankly, the day that relationships like that are as commonplace as interracial or homosexual ones, to the point where it no longer raises eyebrows, will be a great day…
So I guess R. Stevens, mastermind behind the webcomic Diesel sweeties, read the Physorg.com article as well, as evidenced here. Good eye, sir! That really just enforces what I’d linked to in a previous post, concerning how Diesel sweeties is more of a comic ‘strip’ that looks more towards the future, as opposed to relying on humour standbys and crutches that have been flogged to death since the Forties and Fifties. It’s advanced and sophisticated in every way!
And wahey, Sweetie’s posted a couple of new clips to her Dailymotion page, as it’s that time of the month again. Wow, that was incredibly inappropriate.
In the interim, enjoy your 23rd responsibly! Or not, see if I care