Monday, March 16, 2009

Column: That's MR. Roboto to you

Even in a poor economy, we’re always going to need teachers. Because someday things are going to get better, and someone has to teach children the skills they’ll need to ruin everything again when it’s their turn.

But now it seems even teachers have to worry: It just came out that scientists in Japan are testing an actual robot teacher at a primary school in Tokyo. Yes, I’m referring to a teacher created entirely in a lab, and presumably programmed not to get burnt out, surly or despondent over the fact that smoking is no longer allowed in the teachers’ lounge.

According to the Telegraph of London, the robot can “carry out roll calls, set tasks and make facial expressions — including anger — thanks to 19 motors hidden behind her latex face.” That last part strikes me as wholly unnecessary, given that some of my best teachers had pretty much only one facial expression, hovering somewhere between incredulity and bemused indifference. (They know who they are.)

[Read the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca here.]

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