Is it just me or are the Japanese obsessed with creating robotic females?

Written by Paul Zannucci on 10:45 PM

Somewhere right now there's a Japanese guy putting extraordinary care into the details of a female robot. For most of us Americans, this is where we kind of giggle uncomfortably and wonder whether we should look away. Not so for our Pearl Harbor friends. According to Science Daily, “The Japanese, on the other hand, are very comfortable with humanoid robots, and I think it is something to do with the Shinto religion that believes machines can have a soul.”

A soul? Pardon my American disbelief and straightforwardness, but I'm going to guess the little guy in the lab coat with the obsessed look on his face doesn't have those kind of intentions.

I first started noticing this developing trend several years ago with stories about the Japanese seeking friendship from robotic pets. I'm not sure what this says about a culture that it can find genuine adoration for anything that moves and looks remotely lifelike, but I'm pretty sure it's something impersonal.

Then the really weird stuff started happening. They started creating robots that looked as lifelike as possible (not Disney World animatronic lifelike, but, you know, lonely geek lifelike). The original videos of these early attempts I'm unable to find, but here's a more successful recent try:

Still not quite Disney, but I probably wouldn't touch it without gloves on if it had been left alone with any engineers.

And here's another female robot that is apparently capable of learning self-defense if the placement of her right hand is any indication:

And then it just got really sad. Apparently, you can have a lot of fun with female robots, but if you want a child out of it, you have to go back to the lab:

Five-year-old girl robot

But what if you just need to get away from the wife and daughter robot and have some intellectual conversation with a math-minded buddy? There's a solution to that, too:

That has to be the most incredible facial rendering I've ever seen. Unfortunately for Albert, he's a boy robot, and the rest of him wasn't quite as important to engineers. Unlike all the female robots, however, they did give him the ability to walk away. I don't think they'll ever develop that technology for the cuter gender.