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April 3, 2006

South Korea: Robots in Every Home

Topics: Technology

robot-guy.jpgThe government of South Korea predicts that within 10 to 15 years every household in the nation will have a robot. Testing began last year with three types of domestic robots distributed randomly to 65 homes and in October, a second phase in the testing will put robots in 650 households and 20 public places.

By 2007, networked robots that, say, relay messages to parents, teach children English and sing and dance for them when they are bored, are scheduled to enter mass production. Outside the home, they are expected to guide customers at post offices or patrol public areas, searching for intruders and transmitting images to monitoring centers.
Quite an interesting emphasis on child care and population management... hmmm. Did I mention the programs are government funded? One could really get carried away speculating about Big Brother and the use of mechanical beings as an agent of the state. Personally, I'd prefer to entertain the kids and leave cleaning, ironing and yard work to the bot.

The robotics push is actually part of a much more comprehensive program to make South Korea the world technology leader. As our South Korean readers can attest, the majority of homes (72%) have broadband Internet and futuristic technologies that are years away in the United States are tested first in their country.

Since January, Koreans have been able to watch television broadcasts on cellphones, free, thanks to government-subsidized technology. In April, South Korea will introduce the first nationwide superfast wireless Internet service, called WiBro, eventually making it possible for Koreans to remain online on the go -- at 10 megabits per second, faster than most conventional broadband connections.
Hyscience has correspondents through-out the world but none from this future technology capital. If you're a leading South Korean blogger with a desire to grow your international readership, consider this an invitation.

Posted by tim at April 3, 2006 2:50 PM

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