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"She can even butter your toast"
December 11, 2008 2:48 AM   Subscribe

Inventor Le Trung, creator of Aiko the female robot, awaits investors to give his creation life.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing (42 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
"She can work 24 hours, no break, no pay and she won't ask for a raise," he says. "That's okay for a home budget."

Oh, slavery. Will you ever stop being desirable? ~
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:13 AM on December 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


The 33-year-old inventor is chasing a dream - of building the perfect domestic companion. Working out of his parents' home in Brampton, Ont.

I love the part where he refers to Emily Post. He's not all horn-dog; not all.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:17 AM on December 11, 2008


Wow, she's looks pretty scary in that video! But still, it's amazing what you can do on such a limited budget.
posted by sveskemus at 3:18 AM on December 11, 2008


I'm picturing an investor sketching out the market for this. Thirty-five or so for assorted horror directors, and 700 for various cosplay fetishists. I can't see much return on investment.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:27 AM on December 11, 2008


I'm watching this on CNN right now!
posted by Science! at 3:50 AM on December 11, 2008


I'd want one, just to make it up to resemble a zombie. To achieve a true Uncanny Valley effect, I'd have it wear a 28 Days Later shirt as it slowly lurches about.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:54 AM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thirty-five or so for assorted horror directors, and 700 for various cosplay fetishists.

You realize that when everybody and her dog has 2 of these, that this will be your "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers" moment, right?
posted by signal at 3:56 AM on December 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Could we have gender-neutral robots? That would make the whole thing, you know, less creepy.
posted by Sijeka at 4:06 AM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm picturing an investor sketching out the market for this. Thirty-five or so for assorted horror directors, and 700 for various cosplay fetishists.

Considering how much RealDolls cost, and how many men have bought more than one, I think he'll be able to raise money with a little publicity like this.

I was a little touched to read about Mrs. T. I don't think she's holding her breath for a daughter-in-law.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:17 AM on December 11, 2008


On the plus side, Mrs T apparently has awesome taste in bonnets.
posted by No-sword at 4:22 AM on December 11, 2008


I absolutely want a robot. 100%. But the thing I would most highly value in a robot is a useful AI, not soft, supple skin.
posted by DU at 4:29 AM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


She can butter your toast.

Can she ever.
posted by rokusan at 4:35 AM on December 11, 2008


God... that "hubris" thing, you stopped caring about that years ago, didn't you?
posted by JHarris at 4:55 AM on December 11, 2008


"There was a slight delay - her battery isn't fully charged yet," Mr. Trung says

She's already giving him that excuse? Oh, the bloom is definitely off the rose there.
posted by Spatch at 5:17 AM on December 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Working out of his parents' home in Brampton, Ont.

It's like a scene from the movie Weird Science.
posted by Mr_Zero at 5:54 AM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know what would impress me? If I could buy a simple kit of sensors at a store, stuff like a camera, a microphone, ect. and then hook them up to my computer where a digital personal assistant could access them. The program would be able to understand simple spoken requests like, "What's my friend's phone number?" "What do I have scheduled for today?" "What is the weather going to be like today?" and then respond verbally in full sentences. I don't even care about being able to hold a conversation since chat-bots are hard to program and almost all universally suck, I just want something that can manage and fetch information conveniently and pleasantly.

I've seen some of the current voice activated navigation systems that people install in cars, and they really don't do any of that at all. I don't mean this disrespectfully, but focusing on the physical aspect of a robot almost seems like a waste of time until we've got the social aspects worked out. True AI is a long ways off, but a clever approximation of intelligence in a limited sense isn't nearly as daunting, (Encouraging limitations and a narrowly focused scope seems like the key to this. It's already quite apparent from video games that we can create very human-like effects within constrained environments). A disembodied voice that seems friendly and helpful is in my mind worth ten times as much as a clunky mechanical maid that's stuck on the wrong side of the uncanny valley.
posted by CheshireCat at 6:05 AM on December 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


AIKO WILL REMEMBER YOUR NAME AND FACE

... to report to police, you sick perv.
posted by cimbrog at 6:53 AM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


what amazes me is the assumption that "perfect women" will happily allow themselves be exploited for free labor and raping fantasies. unfuckingbelievable.
posted by liza at 6:55 AM on December 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


Iko, Iko, Iko-Iko all day...
posted by fixedgear at 7:22 AM on December 11, 2008


Does she turn into a pizza and a six-pack after midnight?
posted by Artful Codger at 7:24 AM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Uncanny Valley?

Also, I would date to the "Don't Date Robots!" video from Futurama, but surprisingly I cant find a version of it anywhere.
posted by SirOmega at 7:34 AM on December 11, 2008


AIKO WILL REMEMBER YOUR NAME AND FACE

So she can kill you later..
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:40 AM on December 11, 2008


Uncanny Valley of the Pussycat Dolls

some real girls do look uncanny.
posted by liza at 8:05 AM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


what amazes me is the assumption that "perfect women" will happily allow themselves be exploited for free labor and raping fantasies. unfuckingbelievable.

Yes, that. But looking at the bright side, I guess the guy is still painfully single. And I'd rather have him shagging a robot than any woman on this earth.
posted by Sijeka at 8:24 AM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh and the gizmodo link? "aiko gets us pervs closer to the perfect sex doll"? Whatever floats your boat and all, but still: creepy.as.fuck.

Ugh.
posted by Sijeka at 8:26 AM on December 11, 2008


Could we have gender-neutral robots? That would make the whole thing, you know, less creepy.

Only if we maintain a distinction between gender-neutral and gender-ambiguous.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:30 AM on December 11, 2008


Could we have gender-neutral robots? That would make the whole thing, you know, less creepy.
posted by Sijeka at 7:06 AM on December 11


If science is trying to combine two sexes in a single real person, I'd be more concerned about walking down some Akihabara back alley and stumbling into a quad-cocked, vagina-eyed, poly-scrotal, ear breasted octo-golem.

Oops, lunchtime!
posted by Pastabagel at 8:37 AM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Batteries? Until they are powered by nucleics, I'm not interested.
posted by Eideteker at 9:01 AM on December 11, 2008


AIKO WILL REMEMBER YOUR NAME AND FACE

... to report to police, you sick perv.


Mal.
Guy killed me, Mal.
He killed me with a sword.
How weird is that?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:37 AM on December 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


"Your hand is so soft...please do not touch my head...stop squeezing my arm"
posted by phirleh at 11:16 AM on December 11, 2008


Will he eventually learn the same lesson as the protagonist of Cherry 2000? Trailer here.

(Don't be misled by the low imdb rating - it's a great 80's cult piece.)
posted by signalandnoise at 12:21 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sex with robots is going to happen, millions of people with money and no social skills insure that.

If you think a robot designed to look like an adult woman is creepy, you aren't thinking this thing through. As Dan Savage said sex with adult human shaped robots is nothing compared to what's on the way.

First off are the Furries, there will be robot catgirls, skunkgirls, lizardgirls, whatevergirls available for sale. But that won't be the end of the creepy. There's the centaur and dinosaur/dragon crowd. There's the size fetish crowd (both giant and fairy-tiny) to consider.

And, finally, for the ultimate in creepy and wrong, there's pedophiles. Someone will build a robot shaped like a child and fuck it. And then post a video of it on the internet.

In a few decades people having sex with robots shaped like adult humans will seem tame, quaint, and almost prim. You'll look back with nostalgia on the days when it was *JUST* Lucy Lu bots people wanted to screw.
posted by sotonohito at 1:46 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Has there been any progress in AI at all? That is just a glorified chatbot.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:50 PM on December 11, 2008


"Has there been any progress in AI at all? That is just a glorified chatbot."

Unfortunately, there's more than a few people out there who WANT a glorified chatbot. With attachments for sex.

And sadly, given the state of our elder care, there's more than a few people who may actually need a glorified chatbot. With attachments for giving them pills and helping them up after they've fallen.

Anyone want to speculate how many mefi posters are going to end up all alone in a warehouse-style nursing home, bedridden with almost no human contact, just a nursebot to medicate and clean up after them?

...and of course their World of Warcraft accounts.
posted by happyroach at 4:17 PM on December 11, 2008


In a few decades people having sex with robots shaped like adult humans will seem tame, quaint, and almost prim. You'll look back with nostalgia on the days when it was *JUST* Lucy Lu bots people wanted to screw.

Way to ruin the future for me, jerk!
posted by heathkit at 4:30 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


With attachments for giving them pills and helping them up after they've fallen
yet not the will to get up.
posted by liza at 4:42 PM on December 11, 2008


Why do all the creepy fembots have to be petite and Asian?

I demand a 6+foot tall Viking fembot with long blond braids, a horned helmet, a battle axe and a profound love for berserkering on Amanita Muscaria.
posted by loquacious at 5:08 PM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


The asian thing doesn't bother me because he is asian. I'm in Brampton right now and after casually looking him up in the phonebook (hey, he's just a few streets over from me now) I'm wondering why he didn't let his parents have a chance to unlist their freakin' phone number so that weirdos won't know which house to break in to to get the 'bot.
posted by saucysault at 5:23 PM on December 11, 2008


And is anyone else dying to fix his glasses in the photo? Because my hand keeps bumping into the screen everytime the photo of him with Akio is onscreen.
posted by saucysault at 5:26 PM on December 11, 2008


As strange and alien as a sexbot-filled future may seem, perhaps it could be a good thing if people are no longer automatically reliant on other people for sexual satisfaction. Some may find it liberating to no longer have to meet other people's sexual expectations, nor find/convince others to meet one's own. Sexuality can truly become simply a matter of one's own business, free of the social strings and expectations it has traditionally been bound to. With artificial insemination technology, this includes marriage and raising a family. A compatible sex partner is not necessarily a compatible spouse, and perhaps it would be better for humanity as a whole to take advantage of that.

Furthermore, those who want "real" sex, with all of its unpredictability and human imperfections/character, will still be able to pair up with other like-minded individuals anyway. They might actually have it better off than we do currently, since the current status quo has the partner pool "sullied" with people who are more interested in fucking a specific fetish or unrealistic imaginary ideal rather than other people.
posted by PsychoKick at 12:49 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm holding out for a Chthulu-bot with all the appropriate orifices. And appendages.

"...Does she have a vagina? I will say yes. Are there sensors there? I will say yes," he said.
posted by sneebler at 10:57 AM on December 12, 2008


Can a Robot Consent to Have Sex with You?
posted by homunculus at 2:43 PM on December 22, 2008


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