Thursday, July 28, 2005

When I first saw this article linked off Slashdot about a supposedly very realistic looking female android that some Japanese researchers had created, my first question, naturally, was what does it/she look like? After clicking over to the article, I'm like, that's not a bad looking robot, but I didn't expect it to look so... Old. On a relative scale, I mean. Seriously.

Anyway, when I read that they had created a life-like female robot, I'm thinking to myself, ten-to-one it looks like a 12-year-old. But once I see the picture, I'm like, what the fuck? This isn't the Japan I know. Look, I don't purport to be in tune with every facet of the Japanese or their culture, but we have a certain... Understanding on things. Especially when it comes to the nerdier element of their society, which robotics people certainly fall under. So the question remained: what the hell is going on here?

Before Repliee Q1, Professor Ishiguro developed Repliee R1 which had the appearance of a five-year-old Japanese girl.

There it is. Not only was one of their creations young-looking, as expected, but they even one-upped me by going into U-10 territory. Bravo! There's still no explanation as to why the second one was post-pubescent, but knowing that the first one looked like a five-year-old more than makes up for my disappointment and disorientation over their latest android.

Okay, I don't normally do this since I feel dirty when I explain the joke (and not a good kind of dirty, either), but you may be wondering what exactly "U-10" refers to. You can probably figure it out, but I'll be nice and help you today. You might also be asking, what, is this some kind of pedophile code? Well, um, basically. When it comes to Japanese models in magazines, photobooks, etc., they have these codes that are used to designate various age groups. The "U" is for "under" -- U-18, under 18, U-15, under 15, etc. Oh, and also, the "U" designation is inclusive, so U-18 (and so on) is both under 18 as well as 18 years old. We all know how good the Japanese are with English. But anyway, there you have it. Now if you're looking at some form of Japanese media involving models of some sort and you see "U-10," you know to quietly back away from it. I mean, unless if that's what you're into.

Alright, so back to the article. When I see things like this, it makes me think that I've missed my true calling in life. Maybe I should have gone into robotics and worked on the kind of stuff that those Japanese guys are working on. I'm probably not smart enough to succeed in the endeavor of creating a life-like female android, but I'd have mad motivation seeing as how I'm going to be alone until the end of time.

I know, I know. "Dude, a robot could never really love you or care for you. It wouldn't have the emotions or the blah blah blah..." Yeah, and how does that differ from how things are and will continue to be? Besides, if I did a good enough job in creating her, I might be able to fool even myself. Hey, I've convinced myself (or tried to convince myself) of some pretty stupid shit, so the idea of a robot being a suitable companion isn't a huge stretch at this point. Hey, not any dumber than acid wash.

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