A simulated Japanese Professor

According to Pink Tentacle a Japanese professor has built a “remote-control doppelganger droid” of himself. His reasons for this are interesting.

The robot itself is fairly realistic – see the videos – and was produced by Professor Ishiguro of the Intelligent Robotic Laboratory. Pink Tentacle quotes him as saying: “One of the purposes for creating Geminoid is to explore the concept of tele-existence — to figure out what is needed in order to copy an actual human’s “presenceâ€? so that he or she may exist in two places at once.”

At the moment the robot is limited (it cant walk) and demands a lot of input. It appears to have some internal ability to react to stimuli but is basically remote controlled. However, this idea of a remote tele-existence is an interesting one. Video phone calls are now available free through Skype and easy to set up. Perhaps you could have a doppelganger droid of your friend, which he could control over a broadband connection (and vice versa) so that you could speak to each other directly, except that your conversation would be exactly(?) duplicated in two different rooms many miles apart.

According to another interview, Prof Ishiguro thinks that one application of android technology would be “…simple and iterative services such as guides in museums and exhibitions” whereas Hans Moravec thinks the most likely use will be in the entertainment world.

Apart from the strange, sad, but booming sex doll industry, you can see that avid fans of celebrities might pay large sums to have their own android of their idol. Theres a merchandising opportunity here, a few years down the track.

In the same way that, say, Princess Diana was once known all over the world, with here image appearing in seemingly every newspaper every day, future celebrities could appear in person. Once youd bought the android, you could buy the programmes – either simple recordings, or interactive sessions.

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