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Being in two places at the same time

I really like this. A Japanese researcher has created a lifelike doppelganger robot of himself, which he uses to do lectures at a university an hour’s drive away from his home, thus saving himself the commute. He is the live voice of the robot, and can see through its eyes. Pickups on his mouth and lips control the movement of the robot’s mouth while it is speaking. Apparently the robot looks very human – certainly the photos are hard to pick as a machine (though the machine does look less friendly than the man). While the cost of creating this kind of robot will never get very low, as every one must be custom-made, the implications are staggering. If the robot really is good, this is a big step beyond videoconferencing, and arguably even teleimmersion. Robot duplicates could be put on airplanes in lieu of people to go to distant meetings, for example. I will definitely explore the possibility of using one of these for keynote speeches I’m asked to deliver in distant lands, though I suspect it will be a good while before I have a duplicate of myself, unfortunately. Who hasn’t dreamed of being in two places at the same time?

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Ross Dawson is globally recognized as a leading futurist, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, strategy advisor, and bestselling author. He is Founding Chairman of AHT Group, which consists of 3 companies: consulting, publishing, and ventures firm Advanced Human Technologies, future and strategy firm Future Exploration Network, and events company The Insight Exchange.

Ross is author most recently of Getting Results From Crowds, the prescient Living Networks, which anticipated the social network revolution, the Amazon.com bestseller Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships, and Implementing Enterprise 2.0. (click on the links for free chapter downloads). He is based in Sydney and San Francisco with his wife jewellery designer Victoria Buckley and two beautiful young daughters.

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