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Androids that offer "digital immortality" begin mass production in Russia
A company claims to make the world's first humanoid android and offers 'digital immortality".
- Promobot, a Russian company, makes the world's first humanoid android.
- The model Robo-C robot can't walk but has a sophisticated personality AI.
- The android can be made to look like any human.
We are well on our way to the sci-fi staple of a world inhabited by both people and androids. A startup from Russia is launching mass production of robotic clones of humans.
"Promobot" is offering autonomous service androids that can be made to look like anyone on Earth. The company says their creations are "robot companions," while its Robo-C android is the first of its kind, not only looking like a human but being useful in "business processes".
Aleksei Luzhakov, Promobot's Chairman of the Board of Directors said in a press release that "Everyone will now be able to order a robot with any appearance — for professional or personal use."
Furthermore, he thinks that their new line of bots will spearhead an entirely fresh market in education, entertainment and service industries, adding "Imagine a replica of Michael Jordan selling basketball uniforms and William Shakespeare reading his own texts in a museum?"
Where else can such a robot be useful? As a consultant, behaving like a regular employee by answering questions, or as an administrator, performing such tasks as booking meetings. They can also work in offices or the government, greeting people and relaying information.
And, of course, if you're in the market for a home robot, you should keep in mind that Robo-Cs can be made to look like any family member. In a way, they can also offer "digital immortality," as Promobot co-founder Oleg Kivokurtsev expressed to CNBC.
Robo-C on CNBC | Promobot
With its AI endowed by 100,000 speech modules, the Promobot's android is able to reproduce the way any person talks by building linguistic models based on the way the speech and other knowledge of the subject. The bot's face has 18 moving parts, giving it the ability to make 600 micro-expressions.
One limitation - it currently can't walk but its upper body has three degrees of free movement.
Promobot is now taking orders for the Robo-C, claiming to already be the biggest manufacturer of autonomous service robots in Northern and Eastern Europe, whose machines can be found in 35 counties in a variety of professions. The android can run you from $20,000 to $50,000, based on various customization options.
Do Androids Dream of Stealing Your Job?
Scientists used CT scanning and 3D-printing technology to re-create the voice of Nesyamun, an ancient Egyptian priest.
- Scientists printed a 3D replica of the vocal tract of Nesyamun, an Egyptian priest whose mummified corpse has been on display in the UK for two centuries.
- With the help of an electronic device, the reproduced voice is able to "speak" a vowel noise.
- The team behind the "Voices of the Past" project suggest reproducing ancient voices could make museum experiences more dynamic.
Howard et al.<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"While this approach has wide implications for heritage management/museum display, its relevance conforms exactly to the ancient Egyptians' fundamental belief that 'to speak the name of the dead is to make them live again'," they wrote in a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-56316-y#Fig3" target="_blank">paper</a> published in Nature Scientific Reports. "Given Nesyamun's stated desire to have his voice heard in the afterlife in order to live forever, the fulfilment of his beliefs through the synthesis of his vocal function allows us to make direct contact with ancient Egypt by listening to a sound from a vocal tract that has not been heard for over 3000 years, preserved through mummification and now restored through this new technique."</p>
Connecting modern people with history<p>It's not the first time scientists have "re-created" an ancient human's voice. In 2016, for example, Italian researchers used software to <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/hear-recreated-voice-otzi-iceman-180960570/" target="_blank">reconstruct the voice of Ötzi,</a> an iceman who was discovered in 1991 and is thought to have died more than 5,000 years ago. But the "Voices of the Past" project is different, the researchers note, because Nesyamun's mummified corpse is especially well preserved.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It was particularly suited, given its age and preservation [of its soft tissues], which is unusual," Howard told <em><a href="https://www.livescience.com/amp/ancient-egypt-mummy-voice-reconstructed.html" target="_blank">Live Science</a>.</em></p><p>As to whether Nesyamun's reconstructed voice will ever be able to speak complete sentences, Howard told <em><a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Weird/wireStory/ancient-voice-scientists-recreate-sound-egyptian-mummy-68482015" target="_blank">The Associated Press</a>, </em>that it's "something that is being worked on, so it will be possible one day."</p><p>John Schofield, an archaeologist at the University of York, said that reproducing voices from history can make museum experiences "more multidimensional."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"There is nothing more personal than someone's voice," he told <em>The Associated Press.</em> "So we think that hearing a voice from so long ago will be an unforgettable experience, making heritage places like Karnak, Nesyamun's temple, come alive."</p>
Inequality in wealth, gender, and race grew to unprecedented levels across the world, according to OxFam report.
- A new report by global poverty nonprofit OxFam finds inequality has increased in every country in the world.
- The alarming trend is made worse by the coronavirus pandemic, which strained most systems and governments.
- The gap in wealth, race and gender treatment will increase until governments step in with changes.
People wait in line to receive food at a food bank on April 28, 2020 in Brooklyn.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Credit: Oxfam International
A supernova exploded near Earth about 2.5 million years ago, possibly causing an extinction event.
- Researchers from the University of Munich find evidence of a supernova near Earth.
- A star exploded close to our planet about 2.5 million years ago.
- The scientists deduced this by finding unusual concentrations of isotopes, created by a supernova.
This Manganese crust started to form about 20 million years ago. Growing layer by layer, it resulted in minerals precipitated out of seawater. The presence of elevated concentrations of 60 Fe and 56 Mn in layers from 2.5 million years ago hints at a nearby supernova explosion around that time.
Credit: Dominik Koll/ TUM