When we talk about creepy robots with Artificial Intelligence that will eventually wipe out mankind, we normally think of American companies like Boston Dynamics. But it’s a competitive field and now the Russians are getting in on the act. A company called Promobot has been cranking out “helper” robots with limited AI capability for a while now, but the robots previously looked far more like a sinister version of the Lost in Space robot. Now, however, that’s all changed.
With the introduction of their Robo-C model, the company is making a startling claim. Not only will the new robots look like human beings, but they will also tailor the machine’s appearance to look just like any person on Earth you would care to name. (Assuming they can get a picture of them.) Sports stars, celebrities, politicians… you name it. If you have the money, you can have Nancy Pelosi serving you coffee every morning. (Futurism)
Russian startup Promobot is now selling autonomous androids — and buyers can choose to make the robots look like any person on Earth.
“Everyone will now be able to order a robot with any appearance — for professional or personal use,” Aleksei Iuzhakov, Chairman of Promobot’s Board of Directors, said in a press release, later encouraging people to “imagine a replica of Michael Jordan selling basketball uniforms and William Shakespeare reading his own texts in a museum.”
The company is calling this concept “digital immortality.” But that’s not much of a way to spend eternity if you read all the details. First of all, this robot is stationary. The old ones they’ve been selling travel around on rolling treads and have mobile arms and “hands” to do useful work. These clone robots are advertised as only having “freedom of movement” in the face, neck and torso. But there are a lot of moving parts in the face, allowing the robot to produce what the manufacturer claims are up to 600 “microexpressions” for very realistic interactions with their fragile human owners. The AI boasts upwards of 100K “thought modules” for engaging conversations.
We’ll take a look at this monstrosity in a moment, but there’s one question that immediately comes to my mind. If you want a robot that looks like you, I suppose that’s fine. (If really on the creepy side.) But they’re offering to make robots that look like anyone. Can they do that? Don’t people still have control over the marketing of their own image? It seems to me that if I ordered a robot that looks and sounds exactly like Chuck Schumer, for example, and started posting embarrassing videos of its performances online, he might be able to sue me.
Of course, we’re talking about a Russian company here, so I’m not sure how much they care about such laws. But the customer still might wind up getting in trouble.
In any event, this one doesn’t look all that dangerous since it can’t move around or wield any weapons… yet. And there don’t seem to be any heading for the United States in the near future so we Americans will have to wait a while before we can check one out in person. For now, we’ll settle for the video. And yes, this looks frightening. If you turn on your speakers you can hear it speak, but since it only talks in Russian I don’t know what it’s saying.
Pleasant dreams, feeble humans. Meet the early progenitor of your overlords to come.