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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

17

A Japanese Astronaut Says Goodbye to His Robot Space Companion

The BBC documents the kind, friendly farewell between astronaut Koichi Wakata and his best pal on the International Space Station, a robot named Kirobo who can "process questions and construct answers without resorting to pre-programmed responses." A sample of their conversation:

“Kirobo, sorry we can’t go back to Earth together.”

“Don’t worry. I suppose there’s not enough space for me.”

“My only regret is that I’m leaving you alone here.”

“I’ll be all right. I’m a robot.”

I am so touched, which is so dumb! Kirobo was the first talking robot sent into space; he was programmed on earth to "remember Mr Wakata's face so it can recognise him when they reunite up in space," and is part of ongoing research on robots as emotional support for humans in isolated situations. I'll listen to some Robyn in honor of his first strange, sad, cool friendship. [BBC]



17 Comments / Post A Comment

I AM DIAPHENA

This is so sweet!

Off-topic-ish, I am so stoked that the English voiceover for the Japanese robot technician doesn't have, like, an "ethnic" accent. I notice that business on American news media all the time and it drives me right up the fuckin' wall. You stay not-racist, BBC!

Canard

@I AM DIAPHENA To be fair, sometimes the accent happens because they're using an interpreter whose native language is the non-English part of the pair. But only sometimes.

I AM DIAPHENA

@I AM DIAPHENA Sometimes, yes! But usually it's because CNN is all "oh, this person looks Asian, nobody will understand any of what they're saying unless we read it in an OTT, stereotypical YU WAN CHIKEN? type accent."

mattewmc

OMG it's amazing@t

SarahP

I am dying from the cuteness.

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