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

More whitepapers

Blog Posts

Is artificial intelligence riddled with bias?

The purpose of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has always been to replace the menial and repetitive tasks we do each day in every sector, so that we can concentrate on doing what we do best. Saving time and money has certainly been a decent outcome as AI infiltrates the business landscape, however, now we are starting to see problems that cause major issues in practice.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

5 things every business can do to drive brand loyalty

If you’re in any customer-centric role, you’ll likely be familiar with the Net Promoter Score (NPS) – one of the most popular tools for brands to measure their customer sentiment.

Catherine Anderson

Chief customer officer, Powershop Australia

What the modern gig economy is doing to customer experience

Most marketing theory was established in the context of stable employment relationships. From front-line staff to marketing strategists and brand managers, employees generally enjoyed job security with classic benefits such as superannuation plans, stable income streams, employment rights, training, sabbaticals and long-service leave.

Dr Chris Baumann

Associate professor, Macquarie University

Thank you! That was useful to know.

Belia Adam

Why your best social marketing brand tool could be hiding in plain sight

Read more

Because you are missing the point of the term "disruption"

Sean

Uber for the truckies: How one Aussie startup is disrupting the freight industry

Read more

Absolutely agree with this ... Facebook doesn't care what adds they show. You report an add for fake news/scam and it just remains "open...

Quasi Carbon

Unilever CMO threatens Facebook, Google with digital advertising boycott

Read more

How to create Pinball game in 4 minshttps://youtu.be/S1bsp7del3M

Alex Atmavan

Rethinking gamification in marketing

Read more

True Local - one of the least credible review sites on the entire internet.

MyNameIsStomp

Former Virgin Mobile CMO and CEO joins oOh! as first customer chief

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in