Nobody panic but the future is here and this super creepy, realistic robot is coming for your job.
She has brown hair and soft skin, she smiles, looks you in the eye and says a pleasant hello.
Her name is Nadine, and she’s a “humanoid” robot.
She is also a not-quite-right doppelganger of her creator, Nadia Thalmann.
The Robotics Research Centre at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore unveiled Nadine earlier this week.
She works on an operating system like the one Apple used to create Siri, and she is designed to have a real job and complete real-life tasks, like greeting visitors to the centre.
Nadine’s able to recall people she has been introduced to before, and what they talked about with her.
She also has a range of emotions.
That’s right, she has feelings. She gets upset, angry, sad. Just like us.
“Robotics technologies have advanced significantly over the past few decades and are already being used in manufacturing and logistics,” Thalmann said.
“As countries worldwide face challenges of an aging population, social robots can be one solution to address the shrinking workforce, become personal companions for children and the elderly at home, and even serve as a platform for healthcare services in future.”
Creating Nadine has been a long proces.
“Over the past four years, our team at NTU have been fostering cross-disciplinary research in social robotics technologies – involving engineering, computer science, linguistics, psychology and other fields – to transform a virtual human, from within a computer, into a physical being that is able to observe and interact with other humans,” Thalmann said.
“This is somewhat like a real companion that is always with you and conscious of what is happening. So in future, these socially intelligent robots could be like C-3PO, the iconic golden droid from Star Wars, with knowledge of language and etiquette.”
But C-3PO doesn’t look like you, so you know, he’s not really up there on the creepy scale.
Thalmann says the software the team is using to run Nadine can be used to create low-cost virtual assistants as well. Kind of like the operating system character Scarlett Johansson played in Her.
So, in the future your look-alike robot could be minding your children, or replacing you at the office, or looking after your elderly parents.
It’s a brave new world people, and soon it could be full of robot clones.