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Robot Actors

by on October 18, 2012

So I found this clip on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mQfKT7MDBM

Whilst it isn’t the best video around, it shows a “female” robot who is “acting” in a play alongside a real actress. Admittedly, the robot in this clip wouldn’t exactly be a candidate for RADA etc, but it did get me thinking: “If, in Japan, scientists are creating robot actors, will there no longer be any need for human actors?” Obviously, we’re quite a way off as scientists still have not managed to make the subtle movements of the human face needed to demonstrate emotion look naturalistic, but as robots become more and more advanced, they will be able to create the nuances of human expression.
And with robots such as HRP-4C who can now sing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_migLQ802Go
And robots like Nao being able to dance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHJf365p_zw&feature=related
What’s to stop robots taking over performance in general? Surely they have to be easier to deal with than stroppy actors and they wouldn’t forget their lines? Perhaps there will come a stage when a robot can be programmed with a memory chip of a specific play ten minutes before a show with no need for rehearsals!
Whilst the thought is terrifying for us, being drama students (a field I have previously thought technology was aiding advance in the industry, rather than taking over), at least for the moment we seem pretty safe with human robots still definitely deep in the crater of the uncanny valley. (Apparently this is set to change though as according to youtube, androids will be replacing humans in brothels by 2050.)

On a lighter note, this link is rather entertaining: (it seems creepy until it moves, the eyebrows are particularly fantastic – although I just showed my housemate and she found it terrifying.)

Hannah B x

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