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back to article World's FIRST TALKING SPACE ROBO-CHUM BLASTS OFF to the ISS

Kirobo, Earth's first talking robot to go off world, is en route to the International Space Station - and its prime directive is to tackle loneliness. Science fiction just became science fact, as this video explained ahead of the bot's blast off: Watch Video Japanese droid Kirobo lifted off for the orbiting lab yesterday along …

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Alert

Irony

"Wakata will then conduct the first human-robot discussions in space. The robot [..] is ultimately aimed at curbing loneliness by providing companionship."

Ironically I'm pretty certain that chatting to a robotic friend will all but guarantee his fellow meat-bag astronauts ignoring him or pointing/laughing...

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Happy

"Share and Enjoy"

That is all.

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Thumb Up

Open the pod bay doors, Kirobo

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that

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Re: "Share and Enjoy"

Your plastic pal who's fun to be with!

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Re: "Share and Enjoy"

"It looks like you are trying to dock your spacecraft. Do you want some help with that?"

(Drat, no paperclip icon)

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Holmes

Re: "Share and Enjoy"

It had better not be a Genuine People Personality prototype.

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Devil

Re: "Share and Enjoy"

Go stick your head in a pig.

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They should have just sent a cat

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Noooo!

Do you know how many wires/shiney things there are on the ISS? Neither do I, but I suspect a lot, all of which would become toys/things to destroy for the cat.

Cats are evil. Sending one to the ISS would be the one of fastest ways to ensure the demise of all inhabitants.

(Can you tell I'm not a cat person?)

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Happy

(Can you tell I'm not a cat person?)

Your Nickname is a clue...

Are you Brain, or Pinky?

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Black Helicopters

>>They should have just sent a cat

Hmmm, not sure why but the image of someone sitting in machine orbiting the earth whilst stroking a white cat that's on their knee is somehow disturbing...

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Make sure it's white! Preferably with no or long fur.

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Re: (Can you tell I'm not a cat person?)

id love to see the confusion of a cat and mouse in zero gravity

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Happy

"Make sure it's white! Preferably with no or long fur."

Completely harmless.

Provided the owner is not sporting a grey colorless jacket suite.

Otherwise...

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Mushroom

Cat litter

is all I am saying

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Rodent's name?

> Are you Brain, or Pinky?

わたしのなまえはピカチュウでづよ(o^;^o)

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Headmaster

Re: Rodent's name?

>> わたしのなまえはピカチュウでづよ

"Watashi no namae wa pikachuu dedsu yo"

Grammatically, this should end with ですよ (desu yo). Apologies, if it is a deliberate error as part of some in-joke.

I felt this Kirobo robot had character. Could be a hit , if it ever gets released commercially in Japan.

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Intruder Alert

...will meet and recognise the 'naut when he arrives at the space laboratory

What happens if the robot doesn't recognize him? Just doesn't open the airlock?

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Coat

Re: Intruder Alert

It's ok, he's not called Dave...

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Terminator

Re: Intruder Alert

"What happens if the robot doesn't recognize him?"

YOU HAVE 20 SECONDS TO COMPLY

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It would be a better companion

If you could bonk with it.

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Joke

Re: It would be a better companion

What's japanese for "The Mile-High Club"?

On second thought, maybe we need a new name for orbital boinking.

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Joke

Re: It would be a better companion

You mean you could pay for your latte by just waving the robot past the terminal instead of entering your PIN? I think it's easier to use your Mastercard...

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Re: It would be a better companion

Sometimes it's called re-entry. (Allegedly.)

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Boffin

Re: It would be a better companion

"On second thought, maybe we need a new name for orbital boinking."

Already done.

Look up "Three Dolphins Club."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It would be a better companion

Well you could rub his helmet

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So Pleased

They didn't call it Omnius or Erasmus but it could be the first step!

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Childcatcher

Odd-ball risk

Clearly they've spent effort on making the robot's movements during conversation human-like. This suggests a risk: if people become unhappy with dealing with the robot, they may take to abuse or destruction of it because they know it is a robot. Enough of that could build behaviour patterns that should definitely not be applied to other things that have human-like behaviours.

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"My name's Brian, and I can save you pounds."

"I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you."

"Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?"

"I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going"

"Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do."

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Questions

1) Did Wakata have to arm-wrestle Asimo to get a place on the mission?

2) How would "human-robot discussions in space" be significantly different to "human-robot discussions" anywhere else?

3) Is Wakata guaranteed a ride home, or are they planning on "doing a Laika" with it?

Enquiring minds demand something or other...

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Terminator

Still we now know whose "First against the wall come the revolution."

I wonder if they realize this?

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Being practical here

this seems a very odd 'experiment'. Given the astronomical(sic) cost of shifting mass from the ground to the ISS, couldn't something more useful have been sent up? And why would the ISS be a good place to investigate 'loneliness'? I wouldn't think anyone spending weeks locked up in a large tin can with several other people, and with excellent Skype links to family and friends back home, is really likely to experience 'loneliness'. Perhaps they could lend one to Bradley Manning?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Being practical here

It's called advertising

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Unhappy

Re: Being practical here

Hmm... It appears that the Japanese are obsessed with and fear loneliness. Almost all of the robot projects engaged by universities seems to be for addressing loneliness. I wonder why.

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Age loneliness

Japan has a hugely aging population. Who is going to care for them all?

With the younger people wanting to do more productive work there is a near obsession with finding some way to get robots to give companionship to the elderly and make sure they take their meds etc.

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It speaks pleasantly. When it can clean and organize a house, I want one.

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How long til the little guy gets morose from being locked up in the ISS

Life? Don't talk to me about life.....

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Anonymous Coward

First orders...

Bring back alien life form. Crew expendable

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Anonymous Coward

Leave it to the Japanese.

"It's not just the elderly - with today's changing lifestyles, it's people of all ages. With a new style of robot-human interface, perhaps a way to solve this problem could be found. That is the goal we have in mind for this project."

With a penchant for silent communication or just complete isolation, I don't know if the rest of the world could or should really be following the Japanese on this one. In this techno day and age, what we need is more human interaction, not less. IMHO, a personal robot is about one of the most selfish things one could want. I'm not saying that a load of machines to wash your dishes and turn on your lights and make your living space luxurious are bad things, but a *personal* robot is for people who know nothing of machines. Either their children don't care enough about their parents to take care of them or they didn't have any. In either case they deserve to be in an old folks home.

(Insert comment here about lonely people locking up animals.)

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Selfish, maybe

It will not be the old folk that buy these things for themselves.

It will be the guilt-ridden professional sons and daughters who will buy a "companion" so that they don't feel too bad about not visiting their parents as often as they might.

Sort of like the parents that buy their kids all sort of crap, just generationally reversed!

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Anonymous Coward

I'm not having a bad day...

But my first reaction when seeing it was an urge to punch it in the face. It looks like an annoying little prat.

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... this reminds me of something ... hmm ...

Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.

I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.

I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you.

Dave: Yes, I'd like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.

It's called "Daisy."

[sings while slowing down]

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

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Is the ISS vast?

Surely this thing is going to take up a lot of room - if it's just someone/thing to talk to, wouldn't a computer monitor or even a disembodied voice work just as well?

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FAIL

Annoying tin toy

If I had to listen to that annoying tinny 'Manga' style voice for more than 5 minutes I would jettison it into space. Why didn't they give it a more adult voice instead of making sound like an irritating smug little kid.

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Useless PR ploy robot aboard a useless PR ploy space station.

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