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"Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto"

Robots in Japan gaining ground

| Posted: Mar 3, 2008 1:54 pm

Styx fans will have to excuse my use of the famous quote from one of their more popular songs, but seemingly they are prophets of a future that is slowly being noticed.

 

It is widely believed Japan is leading the race to domesticate robots, and in this latest news stemming from Tokyo, a robot has been designed to simulate six basic human expressions: Anger, fear, sadness, happiness, surprise and disgust. The expressions are then linked to a complex grouping of words that lend strengths of association, so if someone were to mention a word, the robotic face could respond appropriately. The example given was "War" and the robot was able to quiver in a combination of fear and disgust. Similarly, the word "Love" brings a softened smile to its lips.

 

According to the article from Yahoo news, Robots are assuming many roles in modern Japanese society, with examples of them being welcomed on the first day of a job with Shinto religious ceremonies, or where they are used to cut sushi and other jobs for various levels of responsibility. The majority of current robots are not humanoid, and as a result are hardly associated to the typical "Terminator" robot class. According to the article Western cultures are less likely to embrace a robotic helper, but then Shinto religion, part of Japanese culture, doesn't differentiate clearly between animate and inanimate beings. This has led to the robot-being becoming more easily accepted into homes.

 

Naturally a Robot can only do what it is programmed to do, over and over again. As they become more complex as in the facial expressions, we have to wonder what tasks they could perform, if they are expected to express emotions in response to stimuli.

 

If you would like to read more about the robot revolution, check it out here.

 

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