Scientists say they can now build near-perfect replications of a human being, and that they finally have the technology to bring the inanimate to life.
Scientists are liars. Here are seven robots that reached for "life-like," and came up with a big handful of your worst nightmares.
The Geminoid was built by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University. He's used a mold of his own body for the overall shape of the robot, programmed his body language and voice into it, and even implanted his own hair into the android's skull.
Prof. Ishiguro, in summary, would very much like to be killed and replaced by a robot, stopping just short of sending out beautiful, handwritten invitations to the T-1000, requesting its presence at his upcoming All-Night Knife and Choking Party.
The professor often speaks through the robot, rather than personally attending company board meetings. So, perhaps this is a good time to stop bitching about your boss. At least he's not forcing you to pitch your latest project to a dead-eyed robot clone of himself.
Why It's So, So Creepy
On top of the simple implication that we can all be replaced by robots, the Geminoid is mostly creepy because it's not quite an exact replica of Ishiguro. It's more like Ishiguro built a slightly retarded younger brother for himself, giving it a permanent expression of intense confusion and frustration.
It's like the Geminoid is always trying to figure out just what the fuck it's doing here, much like you probably are right now. It also reacts a little too convincingly when they start repeatedly poking it directly in the face, hard. It seems to grow annoyed--almost enraged--but then they stop just short of provoking a killing spree, and it goes right back to puzzling out what the hell all that was about.
This suggests a level of reasoning and consciousness that is intensely disturbing. You probably don't want that robot figuring out that there are two things in this room that can pass for Professor Ishiguro, and only one of them doesn't have to sit in a folding chair getting poked in the face by research assistants for the next 20 years.
Simroid was designed by the Kokoro Company to assist dentists in training--hopefully just with dentistry, and not so much on how to get to third base with an anaesthetized patient. The Simroid has air-controlled muscles for a more fluid, natural movement, soft silicon skin for a more human texture, a limited vocabulary to express her current emotional state, and has been programmed to respond to basic commands. She also has highly sensitive receptors all throughout her mouth, so that she can react to pain in a convincing manner.
In a nutshell: Dentists were sick of causing their fellow human beings even a small amount of pain while training, so they designed a robot that does nothing but feel pain better, and more efficiently.
Why It's So, So Creepy
Even setting aside for a moment the disturbing fact that they've built a robot just to hurt it, Simroid brings to mind some other, seriously creepy possible uses. Let's see if you can guess where we're going with this: She has a lifelike mouth, soft skin, responds in a variety of ways to pressure in her oral cavity ... and has even been equipped with a gag reflex, so she can accurately respond when "instruments are inserted too far into her mouth." In the interest of good taste, we're not even going to say what those "instruments" might be.
(Dicks. It's dicks.)