Creepy Japanese robot “with a soul” to replace human news anchor

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Robotics may be advancing at a rapid pace, but as engineers get closer to replicating a human subject, the “strange valley” paradox – the “scary” factor of humanoid robots – seems to grow with each passing year. step forward. Recent developments in Japan in the case of Erica, billed as the humanoid robot “with a soul”, are unlikely to reverse this trend anytime soon.

Erica’s fluency in vocabulary, impromptu conversation, and even reading, prepared her for a gig replacing a human news anchor on live television. Erica will use her artificial intelligence capabilities to read the news and offer commentary. Erica’s appearance as a news anchor comes after about four years of lobbying the robot’s creator, Hiroshi Ishiguro.


According to a (for lack of a better term) “bio” on the robot, Erica is supposed to be close to a 23-year-old human woman. Using her audio processing, sensors, and facial recognition software, Erica can determine who in a room is talking to her and directly address a convincing response.

While Erica has yet to debut as an anchor, she has put her abilities in the spotlight during her development, as in this video from February 2018.

Surprisingly, Erica won’t be the first artificial entity to anchor a TV news show. In 2015, Microsoft placed Xiaoice, an AI-powered chatbot, on a Chinese morning newscast as a weather host.

While Erica is physically present when it airs, don’t expect too much of her in terms of posturing or movement. Although she has advanced software, she is unable to move her arms, which suits her well for office work as a talking head.

While Erica’s advancement marks an exciting advancement for robotics engineers, the robot’s “architect” Dylan Glas has higher – and perhaps more disturbing – hopes for her creation. “What we really want to do is have a robot that can think and act and do everything completely on its own,” he said.


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