Meet the robot smartphone that wants to be your friend

Interactive android phone RoBoHoN is designed to get to know its owner

The interactive android robot mobile device, Robohon, from Sharp will soon be available in Japan.  Photo ourtesy of Sharp Corp.

Whether you’re on team ‘iPhone’ or team ‘Android’ a new android robot mobile device with big, round eyes that chat can stand, walk and move its hands is bringing the future into the present.

Recently Japan’s Sharp Corporation introduced RoBoHoN, the phone-robot developed with the help of Tomotaka Takahashi, CEO of Robo Garage.

What sets RoBoHoN apart from other phones is its interpersonal skills. RoBoHoN is designed for interaction — the more you interact with it, the smarter it becomes, with a better understanding of its owner.

Users can have conversations with it, and, according to Takahashi, RoBoHoN wants to help, becomes friends and “share your dreams.”

The bot is set to be released in Japan early next year. There is no information about when it will be made available in Canada.

While RoBoHoN may be new, the concept of a friendly machine capable of learning isn’t. Movies such as I, Robot and the Transformers franchise have explored the idea of robots and artificial intelligence.

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“What people don’t realize is that these kinds of things aren’t just in the future, they’re here now,” said Sandy Fleischer, managing partner at Pound & Grain, a digital creative agency in Vancouver, which also has an office in Toronto.

Fleischer admits there is a possibility of a dystopian outcome with artificial intelligence, but that’s not a main concern of his.

“What we do is look at how technologies can be useful and relevant,” he said..

“It expresses personality, which changes the way you interact with it,” he said.

Technologies that are able to personalize themselves and interact with a user, such as Siri and SlackBot, show signs of artificial intelligence.

Fleischer thinks that down the line our devices will be able to interact with each other on our behalves which would bring “interesting” possibilities.

Some of those of possibilities include a technological singularity as well as merging of biology and technology.

Futurist Ray Kurzweil believes that technology will continue to advance until it’s beyond human comprehension or control. Kurzweil says that this outcome is not only possible but inevitable and will happen in 30 years.

Other possibilities for the future of technology include transhumanism, which is a theory and movement that supports fusing technology with biology to increase of capabilities.

“All the signs point towards that happening,” commented Fleischer. “I think it’s a matter of when.”

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There is also technology being developed which aims to understand our brains, solve our impending water crisis and fight pandemics.

National Geographic and General Electric teamed up to create the six-episode television series Breakthrough, which takes a closer look at groundbreaking science.

Each episode explores a different technology meant to deal with a certain problem. The show’s interactive website features a cool guide to all the episodes, extra information and speculations from celebrity scientists. The six-episode series runs from Nov.1 – Dec. 13.

About this article

By: Marcus Medford
Copy editor: Patrick Rail
Posted: Nov 19 2015 1:16 pm
Filed under: News Science & Health