In response to the recent ‘A Perfect (Robotic) Woman‘ post, my good friend Mike sent me a couple of related articles that poses more questions/concerns regarding the robotic girlfriend/wife/companion issue.
The first article tells more than just stories of Nisan and Nemutan (a stuffed pillowcase with 2D female character printed on it) in Japan. One of the most interesting quotes from the article for me was “If, as some researchers suggest, romantic love can be broken down into electrical impulses in the brain, then why not train the mind to simulate those signals while looking at an inanimate character?”. (read full article from the NY Times)
The second article introduces the ‘virtual girlfriend’ created by Drew Burrows, a student at NYU. It’s a projected image of a girl on a bed that responses to your movements/positions. (read full article from NY News&Features)
Some Japanese vocabulary of the day:
otaku culture – the obsessive fandom that has surrounded anime, manga and video games in Japan in the last decade. 2D lovers are a subset of otaku culture.
moe – refers to the phenomenon of fetishistic love for two-dimensional characters. Homonymous with the Japanese words for “burning” or “budding.” the NY Times article notes “In an ideal moe relationship, a man frees himself from the expectations of an ordinary human relationship and expresses his passion for a chosen character, without fear of being judged or rejected.”.