Imagine you are a tourist in a country and your local guide is a robot. Or you are watching the early morning news and the presenter is a robot. Or even the customer service agent at your nearest phone help center is also a robot!!! This is not a dream or the distant future but current reality!
Imagine you are talking to a customer service agent. Obviously, you assumed that this agent is a human being. Well, your assumption might be wrong!!! You could be talking to Nadine, which is the most humanoid robot in the world! And you could be forgiven for thinking that Nadine is a human as she has a human-looking body with lifelike features. She can even recognize you from previous visits, make eye contact, shake your hand, continue chatting based on previous meetings, etc. Nadine was developed by Kokoro Japan with her software platform developed at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. She is currently working as a customer service agent at AIA Singapore (an insurance company).
Did you think only humans could obtain citizenship in a country? Well, that’s not true now! Sophia, a humanoid robot developed by Hong Kong based company Hanson Robotics, was the first robot ever to be given citizenship of any country. Sofia is now officially a Saudi Arab citizen!!! And she is an extremely popular robot! She was developed to look like Audrey Hepburn, a famous Hollywood actress and has appeared in various interviews with the United Nations, Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in America, British Broadcasting Company, etc. Mr. Hanson, the creator of Sophia believes that she will be a perfect fit as an old age companion in nursing homes, a crowd manager in large events or parks, etc. In short, he hopes Sophia can ultimately gain enough social skills to interact convincingly with human beings.
When you watch the news, you get to know the latest updates from the news anchor. But now, that news anchor might be a robot! If you are in Japan, you might be getting your daily news from Erica, a Japanese robot. Erica was created by Hiroshi Ishiguro, the director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University. She is one of the most intelligent humanoids developed in Japan with a special emphasis on her speech capabilities. And while Erica cannot walk, she can easily interact with human beings and change her facial expressions according to the conversation.
4. Junko Chihira
Suppose you are a tourist in Japan and want some answers from the local tourist information centre. Chances are that your queries could be answered by Junko Chihira, a humanoid robot working in Aqua City Odaiba, a shopping centre on Tokyo’s waterfront. She is a humanoid robot developed by Toshiba using the technology created by Hiroshi Ishiguro, a robotics researcher at Osaka. Junko Chihira has incredible interaction skills and a wide range of facial expressions. She can also greet tourists in Japanese, English, and Chinese which makes communication much easier. Junko is also programmed with sign language to help hearing-impaired tourists.