Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Robots who are Humans who are Robots

There has been a paucity of robot sightings these past few months, and to be honest I’ve kinda missed them. Sure most of them may hell-bent on bringing about the total annihilation of mankind, but some of them have embraced their inner Wall-E and are working hard to forge improved techno-human relations.

South Korea recently announced the development of a walking robot maid called
Mahru-Z which “can turn on microwave ovens, washing machines and toasters, and also pick up sandwiches, cups and whatever else it senses as objects." Apparently Neil Young has just ordered himself one, noting that Mahru-Z fulfills his 40 year old dream of someone to ‘keep my house clean, fix my meals and go away …’

Meanwhile in Las Vegas (naturally) a whole new window of human-mechanoid opportunity has been opened with the unveiling of the enigmatically named Roxxxy the Sex Robot. Five foot seven tall and programmed with five personalities (from ‘Wild Wendy’ to the charmingly coy ‘Frigid Farrah’) Roxxxy ‘has a full C cup and is ready for action.’ Unlike Mahru-Z, this anatomically-correct automaton ‘can't vacuum and she can't cook but she can do almost anything else’ said her creator (presumably followed by ‘nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more.’)

Apart from the sad fact that there is probably a market for Roxxxy, the most bizarre thing about her is that was inspired by the death of her creator’s friend in the World Trade Centre attacks… a male friend… ‘I had a friend who passed away in 9/11. I promised myself I would create a program to store his personality, and that became the foundation for Roxxxy…’ I’m sure he’d be very proud to know that his legacy was being humped in every available orifice by sweaty, sexually inadequate, socially repressed cyber-nerds. Any ladies or gay nerds who feel they’re
missing out on opportunities to shag inanimate objects shouldn’t fret. A male robot named Rocky is in the pipeline.

Five years out from seeing how true Back to the Future II was it’s nice to see robot technology getting us ever closer to the
retrofuture that we’ve been waiting for. In the meantime here are a couple of robot sightings to remind you that the future is already closer than you think.

Surprised chap in Smith Street, Collingwood...

...and his sister, looking shifty in Fairfield

"A friend's shower, Auckland"
(with thanks to our roving robot reporter, Mr Flange)

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