FCJ 28: Creative Robotics

New issue of Fibreculture on creative robotics:

‘I like your dress. You must be a fashionista.’ ‘Really? Thanks’, I reply, looking into the enormous, cartoony eyes of a child-sized robot with soft, explicitly feminine contours and a perky, human voice. This isn’t a subject of conversation I expected at a male-dominated robotics conference, and initiated by a robot of all things. ‘I also like your shoes’, the robot “girl” continues. ‘I can’t wear shoes because I don’t have feet.’ Pepper, as the robot is called, looks down, dramatically swinging both arms to point me to “her” lack of feet. Then, the robot girl gently tilts its head and starts talking about animals. I begin to wonder if it can actually understand any of my compliant replies and seek the attention of a nearby engineer, huddling behind a computer screen. I learn that Pepper currently only understands Japanese. Hah.

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