I must say that of all cultures, I simply LOVE the Japanese. I don’t mean that in a condescending way. I’m serious. They come up with the most outrageous and hilarious TV shows and entertainment. Their horror films are top notch. They take sexual kink to an extreme (and almost frightening) level. Their technological innovation is unsurpassed. And of all of the seemingly oddball creations that spring from their country, none of it seems tongue in cheek (all too often, Americans seem to be trying too hard to be “campy” or “irreverent”). Their passion and enthusiasm seems genuine, which makes it all the more compelling.
I say this because this latest invention – a robotic toddler, or Child-Robot with Biomimetic Body (CB2) – is quintessentially Japense. Developed by researchers at Osaka University, it was designed to allow scholars to learn more about child development. It is supposed to mimic a one-to-three-year-old and can speak and learn to walk, among other things.
The hilarious thing about this robo-child is that it looks frightening as hell. Imagining it talk, wobble around (chasing after you like some reject from The Ring), and contort its hideous face gives me chills. But oddly enough, I want one. My partner will kill me for saying this, but this seems like the perfect compromise between having kids and not having kids. You can sort of get the experience of a kid, you don’t have to change its diapers (unless it contains robo-poop, I’m not sure), and you can turn it off when it starts annoying you.
Yep, I love the Japanese!