In eager anticipation of the new Terminator film, I’ve done a little poking around into what’s happening in the world of robots.

The main action in this area is clearly in Asia. And while Korea pushes ahead with plans to build robot parks, even going so far as to introduce legislation for a robot code of ethics to “Prevent Android Abuse and Protect Humans,” it’s the Japanese who appear to be in the quickest sprint to building a creepy robo-future.

Due to strict immigration laws and a quickly aging population (its expected that 1/3 of its citizenry will be over 60 by 2050) the country is racing to realize a day when robots can provide care for their elderly, clean homes and provide administrative office tasks. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is actively involved in supporting the development of intelligent robots and hopes to introduce many of the models in development into the marketplace by 2015.

Here’s a cross-sample of what’s in store…

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Paro is the “World’s most therapeutic robot.” It uses an array of sensors to respond to audible, visual, and tactile stimulation. Each Paro attains a unique personality of sorts due to its ability to be trained to execute (or refrain from) specific actions. Pet Paro and he knows he is being rewarded for good behaviour, smack him and he will do his best not to repeat that behaviour.
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Ri-Man is designed to care for the elderly. He is capable of lifting and carrying humans and can also see, hear and smell.


Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
recently unveiled a 95 pound robotic fashion model designed for the catwalk. The not-so-stylishly named HRP-4C, with a initial $200,000 price tag and a “ordinary” figure that isnt “tall enough” according to fashion insiders, appears not quite ready for prime-time.


So whats the problem?

Its true, they do seem cute. That said, below is my list of “Top 10 Technology Goes Awry, Worst Case Scenario Ensues” films.

Maximum Overdrive (Emilio Estevez! Stephen King! Killer appliances!)
I, Robot
The Stepford Wives
The Matrix
The Terminator
2001 Space Oddysey
Blade Runner

A free LEGO Bobba Fett keychain to anyone that can help me add the next name to the list.