It was my friend Bill Korn who told me about Gatebox. In today’s Japan, there are fewer marriages, fewer births, and a larger population of the aged as time goes on. You can read about it in an Economist article entitled “I Don’t: Most Japanese Want to Be Married but Are Fining It Hard.” To help young Japanese salarymen hold themselves together while waiting for what may or may not occur, Gatebox has released a personal robot for $3,000 about as big as a coffeemaker.
You can see the introductory character, Azumi Hikari, at work in this two-minute video:
What disturbs me is that Miss Azumi is a manga character with a child’s body, such that it reminds me of pedophilia more than anything else. When its owner walks in the door, she does a little dance of joy like a child. She even calls him on his cell phone and tries to wheedle him into coming home from work early. I don’t know whether I want to be the master of a child slave who is a projected figure several inches high in a glass tube.
Of course, sex is completely out of the question, unless you want to turn yourself into some sort of manga projection. I’m sure Gatebox will have to field a few thousand queries about that.
You can read a review of the product in this PC Magazine review entitled “Gatebox Virtual Home Robot Wants You to Be Her Master.”
There’s something disturbing about this. Perhaps it’s because I’m an old fogy and out-of-step with modernity, but still . . .