In lieu of a decent post

typed for your pleasure on 16 May 2007, at 2.10 am

Sdtrk: ‘Bedazzled!’ by Drimble Wedge and the Vegetation

Found this tiny treasure on some Japanese person’s blog today:

Yes, a doll — specifically, a Takara Cool Girl (marketed in the States as ‘CyGirl’) doll — of the Robot station emcee version of Actroid-chan. Yes, that high-pitched sound would be coming from me.
Takara’s Cool Girl site yields no positive results, and online translators aren’t really helping me, either. Running the accompanying paragraph through Babelfish results in

(Gramar from the thing) . The end is a figure of this and Expo Actoroid in the booth in Kokoro ・・・ Yes though feelings from which it already wants to make something are understood well.

So like, what? Were they offering these dolls during Aichi’s 2005 Robot Expo? Is this a mod that this person came up with? Where’d they get the race queen outfit for it from? Is… is this what an aneurysm feels like??

I might well have to ask some friends in Japan if they can find anything about that doll’s availability, as that’d be a hell of a collectible item… It might almost be easier to track down a human-sized race queen outfit, and have Shi-chan cosplay as Actroid-chan! Brilliant!
Huh. That’s an unusually evil eye she’s giving me

Technorati tags: Actroid, Takara, Cool Girl, CyGirl, race queen

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typed for your pleasure on 4 May 2007, at 12.59 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Decades’ by Joy division

In doing some research on my Most Favourite Subject, this quote by roboticist David Hanson from an article last year in the Toronto Star stood out:

‘If we don’t give [robots] faces, if we don’t teach them how to be a part of the human family in the future, then they will be cold and faceless and they will be scary. They’ll jeopardize our existence on this planet,’ he says. ‘We need to start planting the seeds in the technology of compassion and wisdom.’

‘Otherwise they will just be ruthless.’
the rest of the article is here

In other news, I’m at almost a total loss as to what to write about next, as evidenced by the subj.title. This happens every now and again; I just have to dig in my spurs and ride it out. Something will come up, I’m sure. Right?

Technorati tags: Android, Gynoid, Synthetik, David Hanson

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typed for your pleasure on 8 April 2007, at 12.36 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Jinxed’ by The Aluminum group

Well, I for one am certainly encouraged!

Robot woman encourages turnout for local elections in Yokohama
Mainichi Daily News | April 9, 2007

YOKOHAMA — A humanoid robot designed to look like a young woman was a popular attraction at a department store here on Thursday as it called for voters to participate in nationwide local government elections.

The robot, named Actroid, appeared in front of the Sogo Department Store in Yokohama’s Nishi-ku.

The Yokohama Municipal Election Administration Commission planned the robot display to educate voters, as turnout for the unified local elections in Yokohama has not exceeded 50 percent since the start of the Heisei era in 1989.

The robot’s eyes and mouth move, along with its cheek muscles, and it even has veins in its legs to make it look real. The robot left at least one customer tying to sort out whether or not it was a real person.

“It’s a real human, isn’t it?” the customer asked.

Hopefully voters won’t have as much trouble sorting out the candidates during election time.

Hell, get me round to Yokohama; I’ll vote for whoever had the foresight to employ her.
That’s how they’ll get all of us Technosexuals — the worst party to vote for in the world will say ‘Hey, vote for us! We have Androids and Gynoids!’ and we’ll be like ‘Fuck yeah, there’s Gynoids at the polling booths WOOO’, and months after that party has won, we’ll all be made into Soylent Green or something similar. ‘Know your voters’ is the lesson to be learned here…

Not to harp on this point, but someone please put her in sandals and get some pics, even if it’s just for one day! If I can’t see how her feet look at least once, I will be vastly disappointed in the Universe

Technorati tags: Actroid, Repliee, Android, Gynoid, Technosexual

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typed for your pleasure on 23 March 2007, at 12.34 am

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

Technorati tags: Android, Gynoid, Actroid, EveR-1, EveR-2 Muse, Diesel Sweeties

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typed for your pleasure on 23 February 2007, at 12.55 am

Sdtrk: ‘Why you never became a dancer’ by whitehouse

So I’d mentioned that I’d found a couple of additional scraps of info about the Chinese Gynoid known as Dion, right? I quite literally happened to luck into them, as the thought of navigating sites in Chinese fills me with an unescapable dread. The company that built her — with the fantastically-lysergic name of Beijing Yuanda Super Robot Technology Co., Ltd. — has some facts about her on their home page. In English, yet! Well, as good as they can get it.


Lovely choice of top

Characteristics of the simulated intelligent robot developed by Beijing Yuanda Super Robot Technology Co., Ltd. are as follows:

His (her) figure and body height are same as that of actual person;

He (she) has the facial features and hair just like that of actual person;

He (she) can have all kinds of rich expressions on face, such as happiness, anger, sadness, pleasure, sorrow, naughtiness, shyness and displeasure, etc.;

His (her) degree of lip-rounding is the same as actual person’s when speaking, he (she) can use different tone, manner of speaking and languages to talk with people;

He (she) has the artificial skin, dermatoglyph and elasticity just like that of actual person;

He (she) is the same as us, has body temperature, pulse, breath and heartbeat.

His (her) main parts of body like head, neck, waist, arm, hand and leg, etc. can hold various postures and any actions just like that of actual person.
the rest of the article is here

The ‘his (her)’ bits indicate that they’re referring to their Androids as well. The one Android bloke I saw footage of was rather funny. He’s dressed in a military uniform, and he doesn’t so much speak, as tersely shout. That’s his schtick, I suppose — the cranky, shouting Android from mainland China. Cranky as Geminoid looks, at least he doesn’t shout. Indoor voice, sir; indoor voice.

And The Korea Times comes through again, with an update on everyone’s favourite (completely) Synthetik pop star, KiTECH’s EveR-2 Muse.

Android to Get Plastic Surgery
By Kim Tae-gyu, Staff Reporter | The Korea Times, 02-12-2007

Korean “female” android, dubbed the EveR-2 Muse, undergoes a plastic surgery for more attractive looks, according to its creator Baeg Moon-hong at the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology on Monday.

As the country’s second female android (technically gynoid), the EveR-2 Muse gained prominence late last year with its ability to sing a song.

In response to opinions that it looks homely in comparison to its predecessor EveR-1, however, EveR-2 has not appeared in public events for the past couple of months.

“Originally, I thought that EveR-2 is prettier than EveR-1 because the former looks like a real, flesh and blood human being while the latter looks like a doll,” Baeg said.

“But the public seems to disagree with me and has favored EveR-1. So we decided to conduct the facelift of EveR-2 while making its hands smaller,” said Baeg, who also crafted EveR-1.

Baeg said his team may change the facial skeleton of EveR-2 and the skin will be replaced with a better one. Then he predicts EveR-2 will be a “beauty.”

“Unlike humanoids geared mainly toward developing a variety of functionalities, androids need to look good since they meet people face-to-face,” Baeg said.

“Through the ongoing surgeries, EveR-2 will give a better impression. Good appearances will help its various expressions and good shapes stand out,” the 48-year-old said.
the rest of the article is here

Now see, this is the thing I don’t fully understand. During my image searchings for EveR-2 Muse, I’ve seen three different versions of what she’s supposed to look like.


Three faces of Eve(R-2 Muse)

The far left was, I suppose, some prototype sculpt; the middle was the one that made her ill-fated singing debut; and the last was the version that was featured recently. It might well be a case of the second and third are the same, just with different hairstyles; I always thought the middle one was the least attractive, but if she’s the same as the third pic, it just goes to show you how stage lights can make anyone look horrible. In any case, a facelift wouldn’t go amiss. But I like the last one!…

And since it’s once again that time again, Shi-chan’s got some more videos up at her Dailymotion.com site; as always, the link is at the top of this blog. Happy 23rd!

Finally, surprise upswing regarding voting on spending quality time with a modern-day Gynoid, thanks to blurbs on both tiny nibbles and Shake Well Before Use. Seems like Actroid DER2 was chosen Most Likely To Be The Populace’s Favourite Sexy Gynoid Overlord. Now how do I go about showing the results to Hiroshi Ishiguro?
Coincidentally enough, one of the new videoclips uploaded is her nattering on about whatever. Enjoy it responsibly, and thanks to all that voted!

Technorati tags: Android, Gynoid, Synthetik, Actroid, Hiroshi Ishiguro, EveR-2 Muse, KITECH

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typed for your pleasure on 10 February 2007, at 2.13 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Dead womb’ by Death from above 1979

In the interest of promoting a wee bit more interactivity from readers of ‘Shouting etc etc’ — the ratio of people that visit to people that actually leave comments is probably about 10:1 — I came up with this after finding new info and pics concerning China’s first Gynoid, Dion. Yes, that’s forthcoming as well.
So I thought: in the meantime, why not whip up a poll? Why not, indeed?

Which modern-day Gynoid would you most love to spend a dirty week-end with?
Actroid
Actroid DER
Actroid DER2
Ando-san
Dion
EveR-1
EveR-2 Muse
Android SAYA
pollcode.com free polls

And here are the nominees!


Actroid


Actroid DER


Actroid DER2


Ando-san


Dion


EveR-1


EveR-2 Muse


Android SAYA

If you’re so inclined, you can indicate who you voted for and why in the comments. And anyone who pipes up with any bobbins along the lines of ‘well, they can’t even walk, let alone fu…’ or worse, gets the back of my hand. This poll is for Amusement Purposes Only. That also means you won’t actually win a date with the lass that receives the most votes, either. But don’t let that prevent you from voting, by god!

The poll will run for a week, so vote with vigour

ADDENDUM (17 Feb): Well, it’s been a week! I kinda lied; you can still vote after today, but I just wanted to see what results would occur within a seven-day period.
Unfortunately, very few people commented, but a handful did at least vote. Glancing at the stats right now, it seems Actroid DER2-chan has taken most peoples’ hearts, with 58% of the vote; EveR-2 Muse came in second with 26%; and a couple of people were drawn by Ando-san’s MILFiness, at 11%. Sadly, everyone else received nul points, with the exception of poor Actroid DER-chan, who got a single vote, as I voted for her. 🙂

Remember, you can keep voting if you like! I’m sure the other lasses would love some appreciation as well! Just think: dirty week-end

Technorati tags: Gynoid, Actroid, EveR-1, EveR-2 Muse, Synthetik

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typed for your pleasure on 5 January 2007, at 2.35 pm

Sdtrk: ‘My little brother’ by Art brut

KITECH, Korean creators of the EveR series of Gynoids, have been making all sorts of ace statements recently! You can’t stop ’em!

Korea to Create Dancing Android
By Kim Tae-gyu, Staff Reporter | 29 November, 2006

Korean scientists are working on creating the first android capable of walking and dancing like an entertainer.

Baeg Moon-hong, who crafted the country’s first female androids (technically gynoids) called EveR-1 and EveR-2, Wednesday said that his team aims to develop a mobile model by 2010.

“Beginning next January, we plan to upgrade our EveR series to EveR-3 by 2008 and EveR-4 by 2010,’’ said Baeg, a senior researcher at the state-run Korea Institute of Industrial Technology.

EveR-4 will be able to walk and dance as well as sing a song. Its intelligence will also substantially improve by then,’’ the 48-year-old said.

There are several humanoids that can move with a human-like gait, including Hubo of Korea and ASIMO of Japan, but scientists have yet to develop a walking android.

“Humanoids have thick legs because of the many modules, motors and actuators incorporated in them. Thick legs are OK for humanoids, but we must cram all of them into the thin legs of androids since the latter should look like real flesh and blood human beings,’’ Baeg said.
the rest of the article is here

I have to stop here and give a hearty thumbs-up to the reporter, for actually using the term ‘Gynoid’ in their article. Well done sir/madam! There’s quite a difference between Androids and Gynoids — mainly that Androids are designed to look like male Organik humans and Gynoids are modelled after female Organik humans — so it’s best to get used to using the proper terms now. After all, you wouldn’t call a young lass ‘mister’, would you? Unless, of course, you have poor eyesight. Or you’re utterly deranged.

If they can pull this off, that’ll be beyond amazing. Mechanical balancers are a tricky bit of business, however, and being able to put all of that machinery into a Synthetik and still have her retain a petite shape and weight (well, more than likely, the first proper Gynoids are probably going to be rather heavy — EveR-2 Muse clocks in at 135 lbs, and she doesn’t even walk) will be quite an accomplishment. Given their track record, KITECH should be able to do it, though. Unless Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kokoro Co. Ltd pull it off with Actroid-chan first, of course.

But think about it: in three years’ time, we might very well have mobile Synthetiks. Three years is really not that long of a timeframe. Granted, we’re not going to have Cherry 2000 right out of the gate, but as Sidore-chan would say, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was I’.
The fab thing with technological advances, particularly in this day and age, is that it takes relatively less and less time to move forward — for instance, it took less time to go from computers that used punchcards to the laptop that I’m typing this post on, than it did to get from the wheel to the first horseless carriage — that’s the phenomenon that futurist Ray Kurzweil calls ‘the Law of Accelerating Returns‘. I’ve known about this concept for a while; I just never knew it had a name. Note: must look more into this Kurzweil bloke… But the upshot of it is is now that we’ve had Gynoids since 2003 (the year Actroid Repliee made her debut), the developments will start to come more and more quickly, each subsequent iteration being better than the previous one.

Really, what it all boils down to is one very important question: Should I start saving up for a Gynoid now, or should I wait a couple of years?

Technorati tags: Android, Gynoid, EveR-1, EveR-2 Muse, KITECH, Actroid, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Kokoro, Ray Kurzweil

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