AI for Good blog

Remote-controlled humanoids and the future society

Robotics for Good

by Elizaveta Agurbash

Since the early 2000s, the fascinating realm of tele-operated robots, known as avatars, has been under active scientific study. These remotely controlled robotic bodies offer users a unique physical presence from a distance. This exploration not only seeks to understand the human experience of presence but also aims to develop practical applications that enable individuals to operate in remote locations. The visionary concept delves into potential future scenarios where humans and robots coexist harmoniously.

At the AI for Good Global Summit 2023, the session “Geminoid, Avatar and the future society” introduced the concept of avatars, as presented by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro through his robot creation. The session highlighted various demonstration projects showcasing avatars in diverse settings such as kindergartens, supermarkets, amusement parks, and bakeries. It was revealed how these avatars can provide interactive services and facilitate daily tasks.

Transforming Societies through Remote Presence

Originally conceived for collecting data for autonomous robots, avatars have evolved into powerful tools for remote interactions. Professor Ishiguro showcased Geminoid, a robot version of himself capable of lifelike gestures and expressions.

“We – avatar, will evolve further, while possessing expressive and perceptual abilities that surpass humans”, shared professor Hiroshi Ishiguro through his Geminoid.

The ongoing advancements in AI are expected to elevate avatars’ capabilities, potentially surpassing human abilities in perception and expression. Professor Ishiguro envisions avatars transforming future societies in numerous ways, from digital ministers performing government duties remotely to imaginative interactions facilitated by minimalistic avatars. Another project in place is Telenoid: An avatar that allows interaction of imagination, due to its minimalistic design.

“Elderly interact energetically with Telenoid. We are trying to realize human – avatar symbiotic society. ”, noted professor Hiroshi Ishiguro.

Moonshot Project: Human-Avatar Symbiotic Society

The Japanese government’s Moonshot project has set an ambitious goal: realizing a human-avatar symbiotic society by 2050. This visionary project anticipates avatars expanding human capabilities, eliminating physical, cognitive, and location-based constraints. Professor Ishiguro dreams of a future where advanced avatars allow anyone to freely participate in activities, ultimately leading to minimized commuting and more free time.

Expressing his belief in avatars playing a significant role in realizing a “human-avatar symbiotic society,” Mr. Ishiguro envisions a world where more people actively engage in various activities through avatar technologies. Avatars, according to him, can help create a “virtualized real world” where individuals can experience different lives and identities. The potential impact of avatars on society is likened to the transformative effect that Uber had on the industry and society.

Through responsible development, avatar technologies have the potential to profoundly change society, fostering increased participation and connection. As we look toward the future, the integration of avatars into our daily lives could redefine the way we work, interact, and perceive the boundaries of physical presence. The transformative journey of avatars unfolds, promising a symbiotic future where human and robotic elements seamlessly converge.

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