Android Chick, You’re a Better Woman Than I

Here’s a relief for those of us struggling to be better, more satisfying women: the BBC is reporting that some guy in Japan has created a really realistic android named Repliee Q1Expo. Apparently, she’s already captured the most important aspects of a live human female: the ability to “flutter her eyelids” and sit.

She can also move her hands (yeah, I’ll bet she can) and appear to breathe. And

She can be designed to follow the movement of a human wearing motion sensors or to act independently.

I gotta hand it to her – nobody ever managed to train me to follow someone else, with motion sensors or anything else. I did master the “act independently” protocol, but there have been complaints about my performance in that area, so the android beats me again:

“Repliee Q1Expo can interact with people. It can respond to people touching it. It’s very satisfying, although we obviously have a long way to go yet.”

I love that. She’s “satisfying”. People interact with Machine Barbie, and come away “satisfied”. If I’m being totally honest, and that is my goal here, I think I’ve left hundreds if not thousands of people dissatisfied by my interaction with them. Some of you are probably dissatisfied with me right now, and I offer my sincerest apologies. I think I’ve got sitting down pat, but I could really stand to practice my blinking some more. Oh – and moving my hands, although I’m not sure what that means, exactly. Any suggestions on movements you would find satisfying? Your input is appreciated. (What double-entendre? Blink blink.)

Professor Ishiguro reports that

“More importantly, we have found that people forget she is an android while interacting with her. Consciously, it is easy to see that she is an android, but unconsciously, we react to the android as if she were a woman.”

I hate to burst his bubble, but did he make absolutely sure the people who met ol’ Repliee were in the habit of reacting differently to women and, say, toasters? Some aren’t. You need a baseline to make a claim like this. I mean, how exactly did they react to her like a real woman? Did they ignore her suggestion to avoid the freeway tonight while gushing thanks to a man who offered the same exact advice? Did they promote somebody over her? Did they try to pinch her ass? I’m just checking in the interest of scientific accuracy.

No mention of her having as much brain function as my calculator. They’ll probably just offer that as an upgrade, so the base model won’t be overloaded with features most users don’t need.

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