Dr Hiroshi Ishiguro, one of the world’s leading humanoid roboticists, has unveiled his latest creation, a news-reading android.
Innocuously named “Erica”, the terrifying robot will be reading the news to the Japanese nation from April this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In comments reported by the Mirror, Dr Ishiguro says Erica is “the most beautiful and most human-like autonomous android in this world”.
And in comments reported in a documentary by the Guardian, the doctor frankly says: “Erica is very excited to interact with people. She looks forward to that all the time.
“I think she is very interested in learning about the outside world.”
Ishiguro even claims Erica has a “soul”, and is capable of “independent consciousness”.
Ishiguro said: “In Japan, we never distinguish between people and others. We basically think everything has a soul. So therefore, we believe Erica has a soul.”
Ishiguro, who is director of the Osaka University, has been creating highly realistic humanoid robots for almost a decade.
One of his creations was an exact replica of himself, called Geminoid.
Erica is the product of a collaboration between Osaka University and Kyoto University, and between Ishiguro and Dylan Glas, the machine’s “architect”, which probably refers more to its software, which is said to include the most advanced speech sythensis system ever developed, according to the Daily Mail.
The robot is said to have 20 degrees of freedom, and has already appeared on Chinese state broadcaster CCTV (main picture) – although not to broadcast the news.