Talking Robot Sota Understands Fellow Robots
Ever since I saw the movie “Bicentennial Man,” I wondered what it would be like to have a robot as a companion and a friend. One who doesn’t need anything from you, one who you can talk and share your thoughts with.
However, technology isn’t advanced enough for this and robots fail to properly communicate with humans. But are we looking at this the wrong way? Should we stop expecting robots to understand and engage in a human-like conversation with us?
One scientist in Japan seems to think so. Hiroshi Ishiguro believes that instead of trying to make robots understand us, we should try and understand them.
Ishiguro’s new robot called Sota, which means “social talker,” goes on sale in Japan and is only programmed to understand and communicate with other robots. This is understandable, as they’ll have more in common to talk about than us.
Sota was revealed to reporters in a Tokyo museum recently, and will be sold to consumers in July. If you wish to get your hands on one of these, make sure you have 100,000 yen ($850) in your wallet.
One question that comes to mind, is that if this robot can only understand and talk to fellow robots, why should we buy this?
According to its creator, if you wish to fully enjoy what this robot has to offer, buy at least two. Infact, “don’t stop at just two, please buy three or four,” says Ishiguro.
Robot creator Vstone helped Ishiguro develop this chatty robot, and the company expects to sell around 3000 of these in the first year. Most of these are expected to be sold to businesses, who could use Sota’s to bring attention to products on display.
Japan is the market leader in Robot development and makes a range of robots for industries and children. Softbank corp., an Internet and Telecommunication company, is planning to sell a humanoid called Pepper. Priced at 198,000 yen, the humanoid will be sold in Japan starting next month and makers claim that it will read human emotions.
Coming back to Sota creator Ishiguro, he also demonstrated a robot called CommU, which is pretty similar to Sota. The developer claims that the inspiration behind Sota and CommU was taken from chattering children.
If an adult join in on the conversation, he will have low expectations and will join just for fun, he says.
While Sota has button eyes, CommU is designed to move its eyes during conversations. Ishiguro says this feature is essential to make the conversation feel real.
The idea of talking robots is not new and surely needs more advancements in technology to reach a point, where regular people get interested to purchase.
Featured Image: [The Eagle]