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Robots Debut In Japanese Theater Production

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the first-the-auto-industry-now-our-actors dept.

Robotics 75

An anonymous reader writes "BBC News and CNET Cutting Edge are reporting on a new play starring at Osaka University, in which two Mitsubishi Wakamaru robots interact with human actors and move around the stage. Named 'Hataraku Watashi' ('I, Worker'), the play is authored by Oriza Hirata, a renowned playwright. It focuses on a robot who complains about his boring and demeaning jobs."

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First post! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25899997)

first post!

They wrote a play... (0)

Xerolooper (1247258) | about 6 years ago | (#25900029)

That sounds a lot like my life. Except I unfortunately am not a cool robot. I just like to complain.

Re:They wrote a play... (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 years ago | (#25900085)

* Life," said Marvin, "don't talk to me about life."

* "Come on," he droned, "I've been ordered to take you down to the bridge. Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to take you down to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? 'Cos I don't."

Art imitates ... Art.

Re:They wrote a play... (5, Funny)

Abreu (173023) | about 6 years ago | (#25900223)

Marvin the android is part of a comedy series, but if you want to see real tragedy, see the droids in the Star Wars Universe.

They are self-aware, capable of reasoning and emotion, and yet they are all slaves and no one pays more than cursory attention to them. ...maybe its because they don't rip people's arms out of their sockets when they lose at chess

Re:They wrote a play... (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 years ago | (#25900335)

Marvin the android is part of a comedy series, but if you want to see real tragedy, see the droids in the Star Wars Universe.

"Humor is tragedy plus time" - Mark Twain

And no, I don't know where I'm going with this.

Re:They wrote a play... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25900595)

That was a terrible post. I'll be sure to come back and re-read it in a few hours.

Re:They wrote a play... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 years ago | (#25901287)

That was a terrible post. I'll be sure to come back and re-read it in a few hours.

Thank you, I'll be here all week.

Re:They wrote a play... (1)

darthdavid (835069) | about 6 years ago | (#25904531)

Try staying for a year or two, you might actually get to the point where you become amusing...

Re:They wrote a play... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25905179)

So in a few years we will look back at Star Wars I-III and laugh?

Re:They wrote a play... (1)

Xerolooper (1247258) | about 6 years ago | (#25900493)

They are self-aware, capable of reasoning and emotion, and yet they are all slaves and no one pays more than cursory attention to them.

I always thought that phenomenon made Star Wars more interesting. You wouldn't sit down for a chat with your refridgerator. Even if my fridge has a web interface and tells me the weather and stock quotes. It is the next logical progression that they simulate emotions. The emotions they display are a reflection of their programmer. We all know how acturate the decisions that programmers make are in the real world. Would we still treat them as appliances? ...
I think we would.

Re:They wrote a play... (4, Interesting)

Joe Tie. (567096) | about 6 years ago | (#25900603)

That always struck me as horrible about the droids as well. I was always surprised more people weren't bothered by it. They're constantly being killed, and nobody even cares.

Re:They wrote a play... (4, Insightful)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 6 years ago | (#25900759)

Agreed! Personally, I value droid "life" more than I would Jar-Jar's.

Re:They wrote a play... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25905717)

The storm troopers are constantly getting killed, and nobody cares--and they're human!

Re:They wrote a play... (2, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 6 years ago | (#25901775)

Marvin the android is part of a comedy series, but if you want to see real tragedy, see the droids in the Star Wars Universe.

They are self-aware, capable of reasoning and emotion, and yet they are all slaves and no one pays more than cursory attention to them. ...maybe its because they don't rip people's arms out of their sockets when they lose at chess

More to the point, it sounds like droids tend to develop personalities over time, growing and adapting beyond the standard unit they were when they rolled off the assembly line. The solution? Get the memory banks wiped. Essentially lobotomizing a sentient being so that it returns to being a docile slave.

I guess what makes this more tricky in the Star Wars universe is that slaves in our world are human, always have been and always will be. There's a huge distinction between them and service animals -- we look down on people who work a horse to death but it's not held to the same criminal standard as slavery and working a person to death. My dad, being a mechanic, looks at abused machines with the same sense of pain as an animal lover looks at a whipped horse. When talking about the machines in Star Wars, you're talking a spectrum ranging from unthinking machines no smarter than one of our cars all the way up to super-human intelligence and everything in between.

Of course, this brings us back to the old, often-repeated story lines. Slave rebellions were one of the old standbys and a robot rebellion is just gussying up the same old story with rocket ships and ray guns. Funny to think how many scifi story lines have that same premise, everything from Terminator to Matrix to the Butlerian Jihad in Dune.

Re:They wrote a play... (1)

luder (923306) | about 6 years ago | (#25902039)

Art imitates ... Art.

I smell a lawsuit coming around the corner.

Boring and demeaning jobs... (3, Funny)

Cruel Angel (676514) | about 6 years ago | (#25900047)

... like acting?

Re:Boring and demeaning jobs... (1)

virgil_disgr4ce (909068) | about 6 years ago | (#25903919)

"Calculon's Byack!"

Robosourcing? (1)

cheap.computer (1036494) | about 6 years ago | (#25900055)

Japanese are creative when it comes to things like this... they have monkeys for waiters, robots for actors...

Re:Robosourcing? (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | about 6 years ago | (#25901269)

just in time for the actor's strike

Re:Robosourcing? (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | about 6 years ago | (#25901773)

Yeah, but I, Worker? Why not something like Universal Worker, or give the maker a name, like Rotham's Universal Workers?

Sounds like a remake to me.

It is good... (5, Funny)

internerdj (1319281) | about 6 years ago | (#25900081)

to see Shatner can still find work.

Re:It is good... (4, Funny)

hey! (33014) | about 6 years ago | (#25900711)

No way. Shatner maybe a sci-fi actor but he is old school.

What I mean is that he's just not plastic. The stuff of his performances is comprised of natural materials: wood, cheese and ham.

Re:It is good... (4, Funny)

D Ninja (825055) | about 6 years ago | (#25900811)

Fark picked Keanu Reeves as the "robot actor." A more fitting pick, I believe.

Keanu Reeves Happy - :-|
Keanu Reeves Sad - :-|
Keanu Reeves Really, Really, Angry - :-|

Re:It is good... (3, Interesting)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 6 years ago | (#25901943)

Fark picked Keanu Reeves as the "robot actor." A more fitting pick, I believe.

Keanu Reeves Happy - :-|
Keanu Reeves Sad - :-|
Keanu Reeves Really, Really, Angry - :-|

"Whoa."

Re:It is good... (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | about 6 years ago | (#25905159)

Nobody remember Roger Moore?

Re:It is good... (1)

ThomsonsPier (988872) | about 6 years ago | (#25908029)

Isn't it an incredible skill he has; to portray all of those emotions simultaneously?

Futurama quote: (3, Funny)

gregg (42218) | about 6 years ago | (#25900087)

I was all of history's great robot actors - Acting Unit 0.8; Thespomat; David Duchovny!

Chuckee Cheese (4, Funny)

Shotgun (30919) | about 6 years ago | (#25900097)

But does it have the production value of the singing bears at Chuck-ee Cheese? I am glad to see the Japanese are catching up, though. (I jest. I jest!!)

Re:Chuckee Cheese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25901279)

You kid, but...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur8AwQHusZw [youtube.com]

Re:Chuckee Cheese (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 6 years ago | (#25902805)

Ok. You got me. I thought I was being funny. Please moderate my original post as: Sad. So very, very sad.

Re:Chuckee Cheese (1)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | about 6 years ago | (#25901869)

Even the robot bears find Chuck-ee Cheese boring and demeaning.

Motherboard (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 6 years ago | (#25900103)

Wonder if it complains about having its brain the size of a plane.

I for one welcome old meme. (2, Interesting)

GMonkeyLouie (1372035) | about 6 years ago | (#25900123)

Anyone looking forward to the day that robots become better at acting than humans can ever be? Don't need their own stunt doubles, can be actually destroyed on camera after showing something that passes for human emotion, will work for whatever salary they're programmed for... Think people will care that they're not real?

Re:I for one welcome old meme. (3, Funny)

Abreu (173023) | about 6 years ago | (#25900181)

Perhaps robots are not yet ready for artsy european films, but I think you could stick a couple of RealDolls in the cast of a soap opera and no one would notice...

Re:I for one welcome old meme. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25903391)

Oh god, chunks of apples were never meant to go through the human nose.

Re:I for one welcome old meme. (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 6 years ago | (#25902783)

By the time that happens, CGI will be more than good enough that it isn't necessary to build an actual robot. Even if people's opinion of CGI gets more critical to match improvements in the technology, it's unlikely that actual, real robots are going to be able to do any better.

Re:I for one welcome old meme. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25905325)

What about movies with real actors? Acting with a CG entity is HARD, if you haven't seen Star Wars I-III. Likewise for a lot of other films, but believable acting is hard to accomplish without two physical entities. A robot actor that can manipulate/wear props and roughly fill the void of the CG character or entity is far superior to pure CG. Especially for sci-fi movies featuring extremely advanced robots - a simple "acting robot" today could be overlaid with CG, generating both believable acting and high-quality visuals. Right now, getting a CG character to pass an object to a real person usually requires a poorly-disguised cut. I'm sure most people don't notice the cut, but I sure as hell do, and it's one of those annoying film quirks (like cigarette burns on the frame) that always catches my attention.

Douglas Adams? (1)

irishdaze (839248) | about 6 years ago | (#25900139)

It's a shame that descriptions in popular literature don't count as "Prior Art".

--bows to Douglas Adams--

We are not worthy!

Popular literature is "Prior Art" (1)

giafly (926567) | about 6 years ago | (#25900939)

While it's not an obvious source of comedy, internationally-recognized patent law is actually a rather funny thing. Just ask Danish engineer and inventor Karl Kroyer, whose method of raising sunken vessels from the ocean floor failed to obtain a patent because of a comic strip.

The German patent office denied Kroyer's claim based on the patent law concept of "prior art," which essentially means you can't patent an idea that someone has publicly described in the past, even if that idea wasn't patented.

Geek Trivia [com.com]

Re:Popular literature is "Prior Art" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25901951)

I also read on slashdot that they couldn't patent the waterbed because Heinlen described it in a sci-fi story.

So, fiction is propr art. According to slashdot at least.

Poor Arnold... (1)

lessthanpi (1333061) | about 6 years ago | (#25900185)

Sadly there will be another Terminator for the Governator, as he will be replaced by a real terminator.

Re:Poor Arnold... (1)

Coraon (1080675) | about 6 years ago | (#25900327)

Futurerama quote - The professor - "he will ran on a platform of not killing people, unfortunately like all politician's he couldn't keep his word."

In the future there will be robots (1)

nfgaida (68606) | about 6 years ago | (#25900215)

Do they dance in an interpretive manner?

Re:In the future there will be robots (0)

ShadowBlasko (597519) | about 6 years ago | (#25900339)

Damn . You beat me to it!

/Runs off to listen to the Medieval Millennium Faire commercial.

Re:In the future there will be robots (1)

nfgaida (68606) | about 6 years ago | (#25900385)

Love those commercials.

Re:In the future there will be robots (1)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#25900783)

I'm glad there are at least two other well cultured slashdotters around ;)

Re:In the future there will be robots (1)

nfgaida (68606) | about 6 years ago | (#25900819)

Apparently no moderators though.

Re:In the future there will be robots (1)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#25900935)

I used all my mod points this morning :(

Sounds familiar... (2, Funny)

sancho_pancho (643406) | about 6 years ago | (#25900251)

It focuses on a robot who complains about his boring and demeaning jobs.

So it's about Marvin?

Re:Sounds familiar... (1)

fish_in_the_c (577259) | about 6 years ago | (#25900383)

This is a pre-history of marvin and these robots are some of his earily ancestors.

Better than... (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 6 years ago | (#25900303)

Better than complaining about the diodes down its left side aching...

Really just a prop, isn't it? (3, Funny)

Gizzmonic (412910) | about 6 years ago | (#25900365)

This is really just the same thing as using a puppet, except more expensive.

Of course, people say the same thing about Keanu Reeves...

Re:Really just a prop, isn't it? (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | about 6 years ago | (#25901247)

This is really just the same thing as using a puppet, except more expensive.

this will be the great debate in our future

Re:Really just a prop, isn't it? (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | about 6 years ago | (#25902561)

Goddamnit, someone stole this line for the FARK submission.

Then, I guess it was pretty obvious, so I'm withdrawing my patent claims.

PLEASE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25900417)

Please, no Robotic Thespian Overlord jokes! ... for just this one post ...

Complains about its boring life? (0, Redundant)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about 6 years ago | (#25900453)

Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to take you to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction, 'cause I don't.

But will they be any good? (2, Funny)

supernova_hq (1014429) | about 6 years ago | (#25900461)

Everyone walked out. They hated it. I've seen plagues that had better opening nights than this. You said that Oscar was practically on my mantle.

Re:But will they be any good? (1)

drodal (1285636) | about 6 years ago | (#25901019)

that's why I used the word practically......

Stairs (0, Offtopic)

tripdizzle (1386273) | about 6 years ago | (#25900483)

This looks like a badass robot and of course I want one, but from the pictures, I don't think that it would be able to go down stairs to well.

Re:Stairs (3, Funny)

astrodoom (1396409) | about 6 years ago | (#25900525)

It's made to utilize gravity in a very efficient way for just such a problem.

Re:Stairs (1)

tripdizzle (1386273) | about 6 years ago | (#25900605)

Yeah, and after that you will be utilizing its warranty for the robotic suicide of falling down the stairs.

YUO faIL IT!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25900639)

the hard driv3 to 3njoy the loud since then. More

It's a fake! (3, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 6 years ago | (#25901023)

Ever see "Victor, Victoria", where the title character (Julie Andrews) got rave reviews as a female impersonator because she actually _was_ a woman pretending to be a man? How long before some robot actor gets lauded for being "so lifelike, just like a human", and then we discover that it's really a human actor inside a robot suit? Weren't there actually people inside CP30 and R2D2 (at least in some shots)?

Re:It's a fake! (1)

Khisanth Magus (1090101) | about 6 years ago | (#25901493)

I'd like to think that technology has improved somewhat since then.

you FAIL 1t (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25901671)

my 3aaling. Now I for it. I don't about outside

EngineerBot (1)

eabrek (880144) | about 6 years ago | (#25901971)

The robots should build automated workers to do their tasks for them!

Isn't David Duchovny a robot already? (1)

ExtraT (704420) | about 6 years ago | (#25902529)

AKA "Acting unit 2013", "Fespomat" and "Calculon"

No actors as robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25908537)

Kitajima Maya's next role?

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