Do geminoids dream of electric sheep?

Could you love a robot? Should you love a robot? Or, rather, a geminoid, as its creator, Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, calls it. That’s one of the questions posed in Phie Ambo’s Mechanical Love.

Ishiguro and his evil twin

Ishiguro built his geminoid in his own image. Make of that what you will.

In fact, he coined the word “geminoid” from the Latin geminus, meaning “twin” or “double” and oid, which indicates “similarity”. And the damned thing does really look like him. If he were a robot, that is.

Apparently, he got the idea for this because he is so busy. He can’t be in two places at once, after all. So he built this copy of himself–sculpted from casts of his body–so that it could, say, sit in a meeting at the office while he was working elsewhere, and it would stand in for him as he spoke through it and manipulated it via remote control. ‘If I could have one at the university, and one at ATR, I would just do all my work from a hot-springs resort.’ Well, okay… it makes sense when he puts it that way. But he also wonders if people could come to have feelings for these things. Continue reading