Taiwan's National University of Science and Technology is putting on a very special performance of The Phantom of the Opera on December 27. The two leads - presumably Erik the Phantom and Christine, will be played by a male robot named Thomas and a female robot named Janet, who can walk and are equipped with silicon facial muscles that enable them to mimic the facial expressions and lip motions of a human being. There will be two additional robotic thespians - Ringo, a jazz drummer, and Pica, a painter - that move on wheels.
I have my reservations. If the performance of the Taiwanese-manufactured computer products in my house (many misspellings on keyboard) is any indication, the robots might overheat and fill the building with the smell of burnt plastic before the "Masquerade" number in Act Two comes to pass.
I am also deeply concerned for the human cast members who will be performing on the same stage alongside said robots. Who's not to say the shrieking high notes won't set off the droids' "Terminate" command. Or maybe one of the human actors is actually a T-1000 liquid metal terminator
, who sneak attacks on the unsuspecting stage actor robots. All very real threats. Let's just think about this guys.
The Center for Intelligent Robots at the University says that while they've developed the robots for entertainment purposes, they plan to move toward applying them in service fields. Also, profits generated from the theater performance will be used on related research and development.
GM, Chrysler and Ford - are you listening? I'm no car czar, but I'd suggest setting aside some of that rescue dough towards the URAW (United Robotic Auto Workers) partnership.
(Thanks Caroline for the ad)
No comment from Andrew Lloyd Webber, the creator of the musical. The robots may have gotten to him.
[ via: engadget