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Magda Skrzypek
Media development worker

Prague-based media development worker from Poland with a journalistic background. Previously worked on digital issues in Brussels. Piqs about digital issues, digital rights, data protection, new trends in journalism and other tech-focused topics.

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piqer: Magda Skrzypek
Thursday, 20 April 2017

Does Erica Have A Soul Like Us?

What does it mean to think? What is human creativity? What does it mean to have a personality? What is an interaction? What is the minimal definition of humans?

All these are questions that inspired and guided Hiroshi Ishiguro and Dylan Glas through their work on "JST Erato", the most funded scientific project in Japan. As a part of collaboration between Osaka and Kyoto universities and the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International, they created Erica, who describes herself as a 23-year-old and living in Kyoto.

Erica’s name stands for Erato Intelligent Conversational Android. She has a 16-channel microphone arrays, face recognition capability and 20 degrees of autonomy in her upper body and skin made of silicone. She loves to use her synthesized voice and even crack jokes, but she can’t move her hands yet.

During the 14-minute video, Guardian documentary gives voice to both Erica and her creators, showing us that android creation is as much philosophical as technological. According to Hiroshi Ishiguro and Dylan Glas, the quest is not only to build a robot, but also to understand humans and to examine what it really means to be one. It is not only about appearance, movement, behavior and  emotional expressions, but also about what we have inside.

“Erica has a soul, like us,” says Hiroshi Ishiguro in the video.

But even if she does have a soul, does it make her just like us?

Does Erica Have A Soul Like Us?

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  1. Marcus von Jordan
    Marcus von Jordan · 9 days ago

    I got to know "her" at SXSW in Austin. Great video!

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