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Korea Vows Online Robots In Every Home

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A heaping dose of Battle Bots and movies like Terminator and I, Robot have instilled a (healthy?) paranoia of centrally controlled robot futures – at least in the States. In South Korea, not so much, as the country announced its plan to have a robot in every home – very, very soon.

If Herbert Hoover’s prophecy of a “chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” hadn’t fulfilled itself so effectively (even if late), then the announcement of the South Korean government may just be another example of empty yeah-yeah rhetoric. But South Korea is hungry and aggressive, capable and willing to achieve it.

“My personal goal is to put a robot in every home by 2010,” said Oh Sang Rok, manager of the ministry’s intelligent service robot project. The official goal, though is before 2020.

The Ministry of Information and Communications said that sometime next year, robots connected to a central supercomputer via a wireless connection are scheduled to enter mass production.

They are designed to be messengers, teachers, performers, and commanders of pizza delivery – and sell for as little as $1000, one tenth of the price of competing Japanese robot servants.

They were able to reduce the cost taking the brain (sensing and processing components) in a central location that could control the movement wirelessly. Currently, South Korea has broadband Internet connections installed in of the nation’s households. The government hopes to raise that to 100% in the coming years.

“The robots will be directed by a remote control system or move autonomously via their own artificial intelligence systems,” Oh Sang-rok said.

“The two sophisticated robots will be empowered by the country’s state-of-the-art mobile network, thus enabling mass production at an affordable price.”

The MIC has already conducted a tested the bots in 64 households and 2 post offices, according to The Korea Times. Within the next decade, South Korean officials are expecting the police, security, and military robots to become the fearless sidekicks of their human counterparts.

Their plans to produce multilegged or multiwheeled combat bots were announced in 2005. These robots work from a similar system, designed to scout landmines and unleash “a hail of firepower on unsuspecting, technologically backwards enemies.”

Just over a year ago, South Korea announced that the country’s scientists had created “the world’s smartest robot,” the world’s first network-based humanoid.

If you need me, I’ll be hiding in my newly dug fallout shelter clutching an EMP device with itchy trigger fingers and a far-off wild look in my eyes.

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Korea Vows Online Robots In Every Home
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