A company in Japan by the name of Vinclu has begun taking orders for their Gatebox Communication Robot, a small holographic companion that lives within a glass cylinder that looks to stand about 12-inches or so. This hologram goes by Azuma Hikari and takes the role of a young anime-themed female that acts as a stand-in for a wife or girlfriend.
The hologram can be interacted with throughout the day starting from the time you wake up. She can gently grab your attention to let you know when it is time to rise and won’t stop nagging at you until you wake up. You can then greet her and begin her day. Just like out of an anime, she jumps up and down with a cutesy personality and there seems to be nothing that makes her happier than taking care of you (virtually at least).
Vinclu’s objective is to integrate young Hikari into your daily life by interacting with you both when you are present and away. You can chat with “her” about whatever you want, greet her in the morning as you wake and wish her a goodnight as you lay your head down to sleep. You can watch TV together and so much more.
When you leave the house, she will wish you well and maybe let you know how much she will miss you. She will then text you throughout the day to make sure you are not lonely and reminds you how she can’t wait for you to get home. This includes reaching out to you because you are late since she is lonely.
Now for some biased opinions! Some–including myself–would say this is pretty sad. Japan doesn’t need any more of a reason to lesson their abilities for social contact and companionship with a human being. They already have life-like animated (and non-animated) dolls for the use of certain, pleasures. Why make it your company’s goal to worsen this? Apparently Vinclu doesn’t feel the same in this argument as well as many others in the world who can’t wait to get their hands on a virtual companion such as this.
Personally, I enjoy having Amazon Echo in my house so that I can interact with it. I would love for it to have a full blown AI that can interact like a human being would. It would add an intellectual presence to the house itself which would be great. However, this is on the same level of wishing your dog could speak English. I could never replace a female companion with it, nor could I replace my daily contact with all of my friends and family. That is just going too far and pays tribute to so many sci-fi dramas that predict that one day, so many people will be closed away from the world, only sharing themselves with a virtual replacement.
Maybe it comes down to “who am I to judge?”. Who knows. There will always be a market for something somewhere in the world. Maybe it’s time to cut down on the world population (when it comes to birth rates) a little with something like this for those you feel they need it. At least the resources on this planet could be stretched out a little more.