In an early test of what scientists hope could one day cure the scourge of child actors, an android made its stage acting debut last week in Tokyo. Created by designers at Osaka University, the bot carried a $1.2 million price tag (just over half of Nic Cage’s budget for cobra venom). But knowing Japan, they should be able to recoup most of that by selling its used panties.
Geminoid F – a robot designed to look and act like a human – played alongside a human actress, American Bryerly Long [did she move there to torture the Japanese by making them pronounce that name? -Ed]. Long plays a girl suffering from a fatal illness whose parents hire an android carer and then abandon her. The android, made to resemble a part-Russian, part-Japanese woman with long hair parted in the middle, recites poetry to her.
Her voice and gestures were created by an actress in a soundproof chamber behind the stage whose head and body movements were detected by a camera and replicated by the android. Microphones were used for her voice.
Wait, so the android plays an android, and it’s more like an animatronic avatar than a robot with full artificial intelligence? Dammit, we’re never going to replace human actors at this rate.