Totto and your inorganic future

Richard Brett

With over 20 years experience in the communications industry, Richard has broad national and international experience covering all areas of brand communications, corporate communications and communications agency leadership. Richard is currently CEO at opr (formerly Ogilvy Public Relations Australia), the largest PR agency in Australia.


At Cannes Lions this year we’ve been treated to many artificial intelligence (AI) insights. It’s one of the major discourses of our time.

But what does it mean? Will it be good or bad? Will I lose my job? What skills will I need? These and many other questions regularly pop up in the media and occupy the minds of business leaders.

One of the AI highlights at Cannes this year was a talk called ‘Androids, AI and the Future of Human Creativity’ hosted by Kyoko Yonezawa, creative technologist, Dentsu; Horoshi Ishiguro, Professor, Osaka University; and Kei Wakabayashi, Editor, Blkswn Publishers. They offered two central theories suggesting AI will be a force for good.

The first is that only mundane, monotonous tasks will be replaced by robots. As with any technological change, new and better jobs will be created to replace those lost.

However, it was the second theory which really caught my attention. It connected back to a narrative as old as history: Can we live forever? Ever since ancient times, humanity has been obsessed with the after-life and extending our existence beyond the limitations of our organic bodies.

If we truly want to live forever, the biggest challenge is how to stop and even reverse the ageing process. Many scientists are working on this problem but there is now another way – hence the second theory of this Cannes talk.

During the session we met Totto, a doppelganger robot who will become the first android in the world to support and eventually replace someone who wants a quieter life.

Tetsuko 2.0

Tetsuko Kuroyanagi is one of Japan’s most loved television personalities. She hosts her own chat show but is also an actress, voice artist and prolific charity worker. She has been at the forefront of public life in Japan for more than 40 years.

Now she has someone to share the load – her android clone: Totto. Totto is built using the latest animatronics, a three-dimensional body scan of Kuroyanagi and a synthesised voice powered by AI. Build by Ishiguro, Totto, which is Kuroyanagi’s childhood nickname, is now beginning to take on some of her work, including her international trip to Cannes Lions.

Ishiguro said Totto will eventually be able to take on Kuroyanagi’s full role, allowing her to continue to have a public life and earn an income while she enjoys well-earned retirement. You can watch the slightly surreal interview between Totto and Kuroyanagi here.

Ishiguro has also built Erica, the world’s first android television news anchor. He claimed Erica has one of the most advanced speech systems in the world. She uses face-recognition cameras to track people and listen to whoever is talking. When you watch her being interviewed, she seems remarkably self-aware. Ishiguro says she is “warm and caring” and will one day have an “independent consciousness”.

Then there’s BINA48 (Breakthrough Intelligence via Neural Architecture 48), which has been built by Martine Rothblatt’s Terasem Movement. This is a ‘mind clone’ of Rothblatt’s girlfriend Bina, designed to test whether it’s possible to transfer a human consciousness into a robot.

Watching the two interact is fascinating if a little disturbing. Bina opens the possibility of being able to have a robot clone that thinks and feels like you, and even has your own memories.

Fans of Netflix’s Black Mirror will know the episode, San Junipero, where the dead and elderly live inside a stimulated reality as their younger selves. Consciousness is transferred to a chip where you can live out your best life in a computer stimulation.

Your best self, forever

This future suddenly looks more possible with robots like Bina, Erica and Totto. We can imagine a future where science helps us to live forever by building a machine identical to our best physical selves then transferring our conscious mind, personality and memories.

Whether we choose that future, or whether it’s ever allowed, is an ethical question for another day.

However, for business leaders and marketers, there’s no doubt the rapidly developing field of AI and cyber-consciousness will have profound effects on how the world operates during the next few decades.

I see three steps on this journey. Firstly, our smartphones will be become more and more AI enabled, meaning they’ll be able to make purchase decisions based on our preferences. Then we’ll see more automated purchasing between phones and AI-enabled business platforms. Finally, our robot companions or future robot selves will connect directly with business AIs to make purchases.

How and when this plays out remains to be seen but we are certainly moving to a future where marketing shifts from the organic brain to the inorganic machine.  

 

Tags: robots, digital marketing, Emerging Technologies, Cannes Lion

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

State of the CMO 2019

CMO’s State of the CMO is an annual industry research initiative aimed at understanding how ...

More whitepapers

Blog Posts

3 skills you need to drive better collaboration

A study published in The Harvard Business Review found the time spent in collaborative activities at work has increased by over 50 per cent in the past two decades. Larger projects; complicated problems; tighter timeframes: These require bigger teams with specialised skillsets and diverse backgrounds, often dispersed globally.

Jen Jackson

CEO, Everyday Massive

Better the bank you know?

In 2018, only 21 per cent of customers believed that banks in general had their customers best interests at heart and behave ethically. Only 26 per cent believed that banks will keep their promises; views cemented further following the Hayne Financial Services Royal Commission.

Carolyn Pitt

Head of account management, Hulsbosch

What 15 years of emotional intelligence told us about youth media audiences

Taking people on an emotional journey through content is the most critical part of being a publisher. Which is why emotion lies at the heart of VICE Media.

Stephanie Winkler

Head of insights, VICE Asia-Pacific

This journey would identify all your future life aspects!

Maryann Humphrey

Open Colleges: one-to-one journeys is the goal

Read more

It's a pretty good idea. I think this integration is useful. Don't you agree?

Misty Stoll

Officeworks hops on voice interface bandwagon with Google Assistant integration

Read more

ok. so no RCS support? by the way, RCS is a lot bigger than 5G in terms of marketing and monetisation so y'all should be covering it.

DragoCubed

Optus goes for education with 5G network campaign

Read more

Many companies and individual merchants have shifted their major part of marketing to web marketing services Portland as it weighs fewer ...

Radiata Solutions

6 Ways to ramp up Social Media to Your Web Design

Read more

This is a unique experience! Will be interesting to talk to their managers.

Joyce Harris

​How Krispy Kreme revitalised its brand in a saturated market

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in