What is human?
Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, Director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University and one of Japan's top robotics specialists presented a lecture at the University of Pretoria on 21 November 2012.
Professor Ishiguro was named one of the top 100 genuises alive in the world today by the Synectics Survey of Contemporary Genius in 2007.
The fascinating lecture centred around Ishiguro's research and development of lifelike androids called "Geminoids" to explore what it means to be human. He posed the questions, "What is human?" and "What is heart/mind?". One cannot completley explain what is human. The brain is very complicated. Humans interact with each other using their imagination. Ishiguro's facination with this question led him to the study of robotics and androids seeking to mimic human characteristics.
All robots need an operator, none are autonomous explained Ishiguro. Geminoids are androids of existing people and are developed to look like and mimic facial expression of the person they are modelled after. The various applications of these androids can be found in shopping malls guiding shoppers. They have also replaced mannequins in shop windows. Android actors for stage and film is also a new innovation. And when you have to be in two places at the same time a 'geminoid' will be the ideal clone.
The 'Telenoid' is soon to replace the mobile phone according to Ishiguro.
The audience were left with this thought, 'Someday the boundary between human and machine will disappear'.