We all know of Sophia, the world's first robot citizen, which recently appeared on a fashion magazine cover driving social media into a frenzy. The bot has a knack of giving witty responses, but now, it has competition – Erica, the robot that will soon be a newscaster.
Featuring one of the most advanced artificial speech systems, Erica will appear on television reading out news. The android looks like a 23-year-old native of Japan and boasts eerily realistic facial features, so lifelike that on first glance many could fail to tell if this is a machine or an actual woman.
The robot, the Wall Street Journal reports, has been selected to replace a news anchor in April.
However, instead of handpicking stories and then reading them out, Erica will only use its artificial intelligence to read out news pieces put together by human curators, the Daily Mail reports.
Unlike Sophia, Erica cannot move its arms but can easily interact with others like a real person. The humanoid can track third-party movements in a room and even figure out where a sound is coming from and if that's a question it has to answer — all thanks to facial recognition capabilities and a range of onboard sensors.
Apart from the month of joining, not much has been revealed about Erica's new job, not even the organisation in which she would be working. However, its voice will be included in autonomous vehicles manufactured by a Japanese car maker, according to WSJ.
The robot's creator Hiroshi Ishiguro, who has been working to set up the robot as a news anchor, had previously told the Guardian that the machine has a "soul" and could even have an independent consciousness sometime in future. Even Erica had stressed that socially it feels like a person and most of the time people go and address it as if it were a real human being.
The report of a humanoid joining the ranks of a news anchor comes as humanity continues to fear the rise of robots or machines taking the place of humans in various fields thanks to automation and enhanced capabilities. We have seen how bots can perform delicate surgeries, make food deliveries, and perform heavy-lifting tasks, something that many experts worry can lead to job losses.