Do We Live In "The Age of the Pussyfoot?"
In the book, this handheld device loaded with all your most intimate information is called a Joymaker. What a perfect name for such a gadget. If you're feeling depressed, a Joymaker could even immediately diagnose you and then dispense, in mist form, some nice medication to make you feel better.
Although all this stuff sounds so out-of-this-world...there are signs all around that the future is now.
Recently, the Korean Institute of Advanced Science and Technology (KAIST) has unveiled it's latest creation: a virtual robot capable of emotions named "Rity."
Rity is a software robot, or "sobot" that is capable of a full range of emotions. On a screen, Rity looks very similar to the cute dog on Blue's Clues. Its creators were able to implement an artificial genome made up of 14 chromosomes in 1800 bytes that control Rity's 77 different behaviors.
I'm not exactly sure what all that means, except that Rity has pretty sophisticated programming that allows it to learn, adapt, and be as moody as any little pet. It can also react to his "master's" facial expressions, gestures, and even tone of voice.
If that wasn't amazing enough, Rity has the power to become mobile and follow it's "master" everywhere he goes! Rity can upload/download to any computer necessary in order to do so. It can even utilize a building's security camera to find his master and then transfer himself to a nearby computer, ready to obey his master's every command.
This is so very cool...but isn't it a little creepy too?
The researchers ultimate goal is for everyone to have their own personal Rity, a personal agent that followes you around, that knows your likes and dislikes, and that is ready to help you with anything you need. This digital assistant would know everything about you, and make all kinds of recommendations based on your personal tastes and even current mood.
Life's so full of choices, why bother making them? Just let your own personal Joymaker make them for you.
I'm sure Wal-Mart is loving this idea, as it can then gather that data and stock its shelves properly for all its customers. Personal freedom is such an overrated thing anyway. Who needs privacy when you can be provided with extraordinary convenience and customization?
If this future is going to be a present reality, I think I could benefit from having a virtual assistant like Rity...
Maybe it could do all my Christmas shopping for me.