New Japanese robot may usher in the robot age
The future is here. Or actually, it's right around the corner. Japanese multinational electronics and engineering conglomerate Toshiba just introduced Aiko to the world. She is a robot that looks and feels about as close to a real human as a machine can get, and she's only the beginning.
Aiko worked the reception for Toshiba at their booth at the recent CEATEC, an annual technology trade show in Japan where the latest in technological advances and gadgets are exhibited. Capable of bowing (she IS Japanese), she also says hello and a few basic words, and she can speak some sign language. For now, she's not in any permanent position anywhere, as she's basically a few steps past being a prototype. But in a matter of years, and we all know how fast time goes, robots like her may be sitting at reception desks and even waiting tables or doing some other type of labor.
The creators of Aiko hope that eventually she will be able to be deployed in senior centers and hospitals to provide companionship to elders and meet the needs of those requiring attention and care. As I sit here writing this, I'm imagining a future where robots become the norm, blurring the lines between real humans and machines. Who knows? When they start behaving and looking more and more real, many may jump at the opportunity to be in a romantic relationship with one...
With how fast technology is evolving these days and how what used to be thought of as science fiction is becoming nonfiction right before our very eyes, there's no doubt that the future is pretty much here, and we're all living in it. With Aiko.
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