Would You Trust a Robot More Than A Journalist?

An android news caster has been unveiled in Tokyo

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© 2017 Tom Gauld

An android news caster has been unveiled at National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) in Tokyo last week, as part of the "Android: What is human?" exhibition. The automated anchor, called Kodomoroid ("child android"), is extremely lifelike and can recite news and weather in a range of different voices and languages.

It is joined in the exhibition by Otonaroid ("adult android"), another lifelike robot which can be controlled by members of the public and works as a guide for the exhibition. Visitors will be able to talk with the adult robot and take control as well.

The exhibition centres on the ‘uncanny valley’ hypothesis. If you haven’t heard the term before, uncanny valley was coined in 1970 by robotics professor Masahiro Mori, and is the name given to the feeling (of supposed revulsion) you get when you observe something that has human features, and looks extremely lifelike, but is not. I suppose I get this feeling when I have come across waxwork figures. Other known example of this feeling come supposedly from 3D computer animation too.