Ever been invited to attend events but were lazy or so caught up in your own comfortable zone? The phone keeps ringing, the friends keep calling, but you’re just not that much into going out. You’re wearing your comfortable clothes or pajamas, enjoying a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate. It’s raining outside, the leaves are falling; but you’re inside and the heater is on so who cares? You’re enjoying a new book or a new Netflix series you’ve just started. The phone rings again. Friends text you to come to that event again. What to do? Bits of you want to go, maybe, but you just can’t sign the deal to leave the house and leave behind all that coziness… Have you ever thought of sending someone out there for you but you also to have the opportunity to be present?
Introducing to you the ‘Human Uber!’ What the heck is that? – you might ask. Well, that’s actually a person who will stand in for you at social events or meetings where you’re supposed to be. You will do the talking through an iPad they’ll have strapped to their face. Hell! Yes! The future is now.
The new idea was publicized at the MIT Tech Review’s EmTech conference in Asia earlier this year (the ‘Em’ stands for emerging, according to Select All). Jun Rekimoto, a Japanese AR/VR researcher affiliated with Sony, showed the idea and the technology to pull it off at the conference.
The ‘Human Uber’ idea is called ChameleonMask. It gets described as ‘a telepresence system that displays a remote user’s face on another user’s face’. They say:
By wearing the mask, we can be someone else and also someone can be our surrogates. The remote user can not only communicate with people who are not in the same place but also communicate physically by making direction such as body gesture with surrogate’s limbs. [sic]
Even if it might sound hard to differentiate this between a ‘mask’ and just someone playing around with Skype or FaceTime and sticking their phone to their face, we must admit that the idea is interesting… and a bit scary to me, for the sake of truth. Where is humanity heading with this technological development? All those Hollywood movies we have watched in the past with robotic humans, are somehow making their way to the present. Let alone talk about the future.
“Human Uber,” developed in Japan, provides a way to attend events remotely using another person’s body. “It’s surprisingly natural” says its inventor, Jin Rekimoto of Sony #emtechasia pic.twitter.com/WZHPVcZ6M0
— will knight (@willknight) January 30, 2018
— EmTech Asia (@EmTechAsia) January 30, 2018
The developers continue describing the telepresence system:
The idea is very simple that the remote user borrows the someone’s body and replace the face to show his presence. [sic]
You might be asking, how do people judge the person in front of them as “the right person”? How to know if the surrogate with similar height, physical size, and dress the same way as the remote user is not actually the user or…? My brain is being somehow fried in a pan like an egg writing about this… but it’s fun, isn’t it? Let us know your thoughts in our comments’ section.