Kenji, a humanoid robot developed at Toshiba’s Akimu Robotic Research Institute, is madly in love. Kenji was designed to react to social situations with convincing human emotions, and scientists were initially very happy with his performance, but recently they’ve become disturbed by his behavior after he fell hard for a young female intern whom he repeatedly hugged and then physically trapped inside an office. She had to frantically call engineers for help to deactivate the lovesick machine. Says Dr. Takahashi, “Despite our initial enthusiasm, it has become clear that Kenji’s impulses and behavior are not entirely rational or genuine.” Since when is love rational? I think the scientists may have been more successful than they think. Although he may have to put Kenji to sleep, Dr. Takahashi remains hopeful: “I have full faith that we will one day live side by side with, and eventually love and be loved by, robots.” Me too!
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