In the 2020 Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Life for Sale was nominated in Romance/Sci-fi and the series (Love for Sale and Life for Sale about humanlike androids) was nominated in Romance/Sci-fi-Series. How much of these books predicts the future of android technology?
Recently, Toshiba introduced Junko Chihira, a very realistic human-like android. She is 5’5”, 26 years old, and her birthday is 6/1. She works in a new tourist information center in Japan. The android speaks Japanese, Chinese, and English—handy if you work in the tourist trade. A hotel in Japan has a robot staff though I read they hat to fire ½ of their robot workers. I wonder if it was for sexual harassment! A female android named Geminoid F stars in a Japanese film from director Koji Fukada. "Sayonara" premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival.
Erika is a creation of Osaka University, Koyo University, and ATR. She was ‘born’ in Japan in 2015 (the year Love for Sale was published). When Erika is listening, she blinks and moves her eyes and head. The following link is a YouTube video of Erika and a child, illustration AI’s possibilities with children. She is pretty and interacts well. She pauses while she processes in this conversation, but her answers do not sound at all scripted but real-time.
Probably the most life-like is the android Sophia by Hanson Robotics. Sophia has appeared on The Tonight Show as well as addressed a UN committee. She has been granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia.
Hanson boasts other robots, one designed to look like Einstein.
In 2005, Hanson debuted Philip K. Dick II. He was designed by David Hanson as a robotic version of the popular writer of sci-fi. The original Philip K. Dick android was lost on a flight from Dallas to San Francisco in late 2005. However, in 2011 Hanson Robotics, together with Dutch broadcasting firm VPRO, developed a new version, including state of the art computer vision technology. This robot employs 36 servomotors to power a complex and wide range of facial expressions. These days, PKD serves researchers at the Apollo Mind Initiative.
These are just a few representatives of the strides we are making in humanoid robots. The androids in my books, all products of imagination, are getting closer. In Love for Sale, the androids are being sold as the perfect lovers. Even now, robots are being used as companions for the elderly, in nursing homes, and as teachers with success.
Christian from Love for Sale and Life for Sale: