On left: Asuna, A-Lab, Japan. On right: Geminoid HI-2, Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories and Affetto.
The natural progression in developing human-like robots is the exploration of geminoids, androids based entirely off of a real person. One well-known Japanese engineer, Hiroshi Ishiguro has made several of these based off of himself and the repercussions have been interesting — not to mention that most people dislike the sound of their own voices on recordings; some actors even refuse to watch their own films. Imagine sitting across from and interacting with yourself. Not only must Ishiguro study himself to try and recreate a bodily likeness, but he must also fully understand and replicate personality traits, facial expressions, reactions and all other mannerisms.
Another conflict that Ishiguro has experienced is something he calls the “identity phenomenon”; after transferring one’s identity to another being, who then owns that identity? What are the psychological impacts for the source of a geminoid? Constantly focusing on himself, Ishiguro must actively “improve” himself as his duplicate is assembled. Think of how social media outlets, like Instagram and its various filters, affect the way we look at ourselves. Since it takes years to assemble such machines, Ishiguro’s geminoids didn’t age as he himself did. In turn, he underwent plastic surgery so that his own appearance would match his more youthful double.
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