Robot secretary

In Japan, people lose their jobs not because of the crisis, but at the whim of the scientists.



Robotic receptionist Saya knows 700 phrases, but will she say sayonara to human secretaries? She won't spread gossip round the office and there's no chance she'll run off with the boss. Meet Saya the secretary, one of the most advanced androids in the world at imitating human behaviour.
She has been developed by researchers in Japan for companies who want to cut costs on receptionists while retaining some kind of human interaction.
Saya is able to talk and respond to questions with up to 300 words and 700 phrases.
She directs visitors to where workers in her office are and can hold a basic conversation.
Yet when she moves her face, which is done by manipulating combinations of 18 different plates under the skin, it becomes clear science has a way to go before it replaces the real thing.
The 'disgust' expression looks remarkably similar to 'sadness' which, whilst problematic, isn't so much of an issue as 'anger', which makes her look like she's having digestive issues.
Her smile looks agonising and somewhat creepy while her general demeanour is that of Gerry Anderson puppet rather than a warm, empathising human.
Saya, developed at the university of Tokyo, is the latest example of robots spreading to every aspect of life in Japan.
They guide traffic, attempt to lure university graduates to sign up to courses and one is even being developed to provide company to Alzheimer's sufferers.
The Japanese government has said that by 2015 it wants a robot in every home and is pouring $35 million (£23million) into robotic intelligence to make it happen.
The push is because of Japan's aging population - in seven years one in four Japanese will be over 65 - which means the workforce is declining.
Robots like Saya are being seen as the solution.



 

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