Treading the Circuit Boards: Robot Actress Takes to the Stage

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Robot actress Geminoid-F

Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

A life-like robot called Geminoid F makes its acting debut in Japan. Does this spell the end for “real” performers?

The robot is an exact copy of a woman in her 20s and is able to smile and frown (though not at the same time…so fret not, Keira Knightley!). What’s more, the debut performance in Osaka went down well with the audience, if not its human peers. “I kind of feel like I’m alone on stage,” said female co-star of Sayonara, Bryerly Long. “There’s a bit of distance … [and not] a human presence.”

(See pictures of cinema’s most memorable robots.)

Geminoid F is seated for the duration of this short play with her actions controlled from backstage by a human. Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro is responsible for Geminoid F and has previously made models of himself and his four-year-old daughter.

(See TIME’s best inventions of 2010.)

And while this might seem like a novelty, the fact remains that the attractive retail price of ¥10m (roughly $120,000) could persuade low-budget movie producers to take the plunge as the inevitable publicity and curiosity factor will end up paying for itself. But just wait until the Geminoid F’s of this world start insisting on huge trailers, fresh flowers at all times and warm milk being stirred counter-clockwise (which NewsFeed was once privy to witnessing in front of A Very Famous Star) and we’ll surely revert to human divas. But for now, the future is yet again here and it’s oh so scary.