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Paranoid Android

Japan has unveiled android 'news readers' and they're extremely creepy

These are not the droids we were looking for. At all. Ever.

Japan Robots The androids and their creator, Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro (second from left) Shizuo Kambayashi Shizuo Kambayashi

THE FUTURE IS here. It’s a scarily-lifelike android that can read the news and tell jokes, but it’s here. Accept it. Ignore the growing sense of dread.

Japanese scientists today unveiled what they claim is the world’s first news-reading android, eerily lifelike and possessing a sense of humour to match her perfect language skills.

They call the robot Kodomoroid – an amalgamation of the Japanese word for “child” (kodomo) and “android”.

Japan Robots Shizuo Kambayashi / PA Wire Shizuo Kambayashi / PA Wire / PA Wire

The android delivered news of an earthquake and an FBI raid to amazed reporters in Tokyo.

She even poked fun at her creator, telling leading robotics professor Hiroshi Ishiguro: “You’re starting to look like a robot!”

The pitch-perfect Kodomoroid was joined by another grown-up robot, who caught stage fright and fluffed her lines when asked to introduce herself.

Japan Robots Shizuo Kambayashi / PA Wire Shizuo Kambayashi / PA Wire / PA Wire

The Otonaroid (“otona” meaning adult) excused herself after a quick reboot, saying: “I’m a little bit nervous.”

Both androids will work at Tokyo’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, interacting with visitors to collect data for Ishiguro’s studies into human reactions to the machines.

Ishiguro told AFP:

We will have more and more robots in our lives in the future. You can take my androids on planes – the torso in the suitcase and the head in carry-on.

Japan Robots Shizuo Kambayashi / PA Wire Shizuo Kambayashi / PA Wire / PA Wire

Ishiguro has a humanoid version of himself which he sends overseas to give lectures, saying it “cuts down on [his] business trips”.

“We want robots to become increasingly clever,” he said. Hmmph.

But Kodomoroid? She has plans of her own. ”My dream is to have my own TV show in the future,” she said.

If you desperately need to see the androids in action, check out this video from The Japan Times. Shiver.

The Japan Times / YouTube

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