Remember the classic myth of Galatea, the story of a king who fell so hopelessly in love with a statue of the goddess Venus that her namesake brought her to life, and they somehow got My Fair Lady out of it? No, how about Pinocchio? Except, in our story, Gepetto was a whole different kind of lonely.
Know what I’m saying? Robosexuals, look it up.
Well, history is about to repeat itself, because a man made a robot duplicate of actress, Scarlett Johansson, called “Mark 1.” Wonder if he’s an Iron Man fan…
Hong Kong-based inventor and robotician Ricky Ma developed this modern Galatea at a cost of nearly $50,000. It’s only speculated that Scarlett Johansson is the inspiration, although Ma confirmed that his special friend is based on the likeness of a certain Hollywood actress. He basically said “yeah, it’s Scarlett” without saying “yeah, it’s Scarlett.”
While the goddess Venus is probably not going to work up a deus ex machina for Ma, the android seems very lifelike as it is. US Magazine explains that “His Johansson android is capable of moving her limbs, changing her facial expressions and she can even engage in conversation when spoken to through a microphone.” She’s reportedly hardwired to smile when someone comments on how beautiful she is.
That said, the loss of divine intervention made the process of developing a robot wife all the more irksome, “Additionally, I needed to build 3D models for all the parts inside the robot…also, I had to make sure the robot’s external skin and its internal parts could fit together. When you look at everything together, it was really difficult.” Ma said.
‘Tis a shame he couldn’t just Adam and Eve it and construct a biological woman out of a bone.
Naturally, there’s a bit of controversy surrounding this. For starters, as Ms. Johansson is still alive, she could sue for the use of her likeness if Ma intends to benefit commercially from this. On the other hand, some people have defended it as being no different than producing a sculpture or wax replica. Then again, some have accused this whole “replacing women with robot duplicates” as the ultimate act of objectifying women.
And only now do I think of making a Stepford Wives reference!
“There’s no doubt that as the robotics technology democratizes, we’ll see an increase in attempts to make your own personalized Kim Kardashian, for example,” said Ohio State University law professor Margot Kaminski, in a released statement.
“And there’s also no doubt in my mind that this will have a gendered component. Siri’s a woman, Cortana’s a woman; if robots exist to perform labor or personal assistances, there’s a darn good chance they’ll be women.”
And while we sure had a lot of fun here today, discussing the science of electronics and the ethics of replacing half of our species with godless automatons, I think we can all agree… Futurama saw this coming.