This is Arisa, the “Information Robot.” It was recently installed at Yamato-Saidaiji, a Kintetsu Railway station in Nara City that I travel through to go to work.
Actually, today I went through the station on my way to renew my driver’s license. Interacting with the robot was much easier.
She (oops, I mean “it”?) can speak four languages (Japanese, English, Mandarin, and Korean) at the touch of a panel. But the functionality is still only limited to basic phrases about where to change trains and which platform to use. Still, it’s a first step (toward replacing human-controlled info booths, so get started learning programming, kiddos!).
One thing I have struggled with while uncovering my family’s complicated past is the lack of consistency in naming conventions before the digital age.
In the Information Age, if you type in your name or ID with a single letter missing or out of place, your application gets rejected by whatever online program it is you’re trying to get access to. We all have numbers assigned to us—social security numbers, student numbers, worker numbers, case numbers, credit card numbers, you name it.
Thhppt. What’s a number? What’s a name? That which we would call a rose… Continue Reading