I first met Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro at last year’s GF2045 conference in New York. Dr. Ishiguro is known around the world for his android, geminoid and telenoid robots and I have been trying to get him on my Singularity 1 on 1 podcast ever since we met. At last, last week we were able to find an empty slot in his busy schedule and I was able to ask him a few questions.
During our 50 min conversation with Dr. Ishiguro we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: how and why he got interested in building androids and geminoids; whether it is possible to build disembodied Artificial Intelligence; what is human; the cultural East-West divide on the perception of robots as being good or evil; the uncanny valley and the Turing Test; the importance of implementing emotions such as pleasure and pain; the differences (or lack thereof) of hardware and software; telenoid robots…
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Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories Mission Statement:
The end of the information age will coincide with the beginning of the robot age. However, we will not soon see a world in which humans and androids walk the streets together, like in movies or cartoons; instead, information technology and robotics will gradually fuse so that people will likely only notice when robot technology is already in use in various locations.
Our role will be to lead this integration of information and robotics technologies by constantly proposing new scientific and technological concepts. Toward this, knowledge of art and philosophy will be invaluable. Technology has made art “reproducible”; likewise, artistic sense has contributed to the formation of new technologies, and artistic endeavors themselves are supported by philosophical contemplation and analysis.
Hereafter, human societies will continue to change due to “informationization” and robotization; in this ever-changing setting, artistic activities and philosophical speculation will allow us to comprehend the essential natures of humans and society, so that we can produce truly novel science and technological innovations in a research space which lies beyond current notions of “fields” and boundaries of existing knowledge.
Who is Hiroshi Ishiguro?
Ishiguro was born in Shiga in 1963. In high school and university, while growing up, Hiroshi was devoted to painting. At Dr. Hanao Mori’s laboratory in Yamanashi University, he got inspired to learn about robots and computers. Today as a scientist attracting global attention, Hiroshi is focusing his research on humanoid robots such androids, geminoids and telenoids.
Having graduated Yamanashi university, Ishiguro started his PhD at Osaka University in 1988. He studied the methodology of research from Dr. Saburo Tsuji and has followed the principle “Seek the fundamental problem” to this day. Dr. Ishiguro has attended Yamanashi University, Osaka University, Kyoto University, University of California and Wakayama University, where has worked on distributed sensor systems and interactive robotics.
Currently, Hiroshi is Professor of Department of Systems Innovation in the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Osaka University (2009-). While going around universities, he has continued the research in ATR (Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute), and now he is Visiting Group Leader (2002-) of the Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories. He also participated the foundation of Vstone Co.,Ltd. , an academic-industrial venture company aiming for technical transfer. His principle is that robotics is just the philosophy. Dr. Ishiguro is author of Robot to ha nanika? (What is Robot?) and Android Science.