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​Surrogate 'Human Uber' Is Latest 'Black Mirror'-Style Tech

​Surrogate 'Human Uber' Is Latest 'Black Mirror'-Style Tech

In a move that wouldn't sound out of place in the next Black Mirror episode, there's now apparently technology that lets a person with a tablet become a human surrogate for you - meaning you can go and visit your nan while remaining fully planted on the sofa with the PlayStation, or go to work without getting out of bed.

That's right, now that we've got our sex robots, the next move is to avoid all social interaction altogether.

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At the MIT Technology Review's EmTech Asia conference in Singapore - that's EmTech as in 'Emerging Technology', FYI - researchers showed off what's being nicknamed the 'Human Uber', New York Magazine reports.

Jun Rekimoto, a Japanese AR/VR researcher linked affiliated with Sony, shared amusing photos of the tech in action.

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The technology is known as 'ChameleonMask' and involves someone strapping a screen to their face and walking around. It's a bit like FaceTime, but there's an actual, physical person standing in for you, too. Skype meets Deliveroo, if you will.

The surrogate wears a mask through the display on a screen, which shows the remote user's actual face, while a voice channel transmits the user's voice.

"Our pilot study confirmed that people could regard the masked person as a right person," Rekimoto said.

We're a little unsure how the surrogate is supposed to see with an iPad strapped onto their face, but maybe that's not important.

On the flipside, whether or not it's a bit of a joke, it could actually prove worthwhile tech for those less able or mobile.

"Most telepresence systems have been designed to provide a remote user's existence with tele-operated robots," a video on the ChameleonMask website says. "However, can telepresence replace humans completely?

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

"We hypothesise physical and social telepresence can be embodied by a surrogate human who imitates the remote user.

"It shows a remote user's live face and a voice channel transmits a remote user's voice."

Righto.

You may remember similar scenes a decade or so back, when Arrested Development introduced the idea of a human surrogate, where a man with an earpiece, forehead camera and baseball cap marked 'SURROGATE' acted as a stand-in for George Bluth Sr. when he was in prison.

Except that was in a TV show - a very funny one admittedly, but a fictional show nonetheless.

And, of course, anyone who's seen the 'Arkangel' episode of the most recent season of Black Mirror will know that this probably won't come without its problems... Human Ubers, beware.

Featured Image Credit: 20th Television

Topics: Phones and Gadgets, tech news, Singapore, News, Weird

Jess Hardiman

Jess is a journalist at LADbible who graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Film Studies, English Language and Linguistics - indecisiveness at its finest, right there. She also works for FOODbible and its sister page Seitanists, which are both a safe haven for her to channel a love for homemade pasta, fennel and everything else in between. You can contact Jess at [email protected]

 

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