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Science Cinema with Robotics Expert Hiroshi Ishiguro

Published on 11. Oktober 2019, 13:47 h

Japanese researcher on campus for 2019 CITEC Conference at Bielefeld University

The science fiction drama “Sayōnara” is considered to be the first film with an android as an actor. “Geminoid F” portrays a faithful robot who stays at the side of young, sick woman after a nuclear contamination. The Geminoid F robot was developed by Japanese robotics researcher Professor Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro, who became known worldwide after having constructed a robot doppelgänger of himself. “Science Cinema Special” will screen “Sayōnara” on Wednesday, 23 October, which will then be accompanied by a discussion with Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro. The film will be shown at 7pm the Kamera Filmkunsttheater in Bielefeld as part of the pre-program of the CITEC Conference 2019.

Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro (left) is known for his robot doppelgänger (right). The robot researcher is an invited guest at “Science Cinema Spezial” on 23 October at Kamera cinema. Photo: Osaka University, Intelligent Robotics Laboratory
Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro (left) is known for his robot doppelgänger (right). The robot researcher is an invited guest at “Science Cinema Spezial” on 23 October at Kamera cinema. Photo: Osaka University, Intelligent Robotics Laboratory
Together with Professor Dr. Helge Ritter, who serves as coordinator of CITEC, Hiroshi Ishiguro will talk about how the film came to be, and how realistic a future with humanoid robots is. Admission to the English-language film screening is free; tickets can be reserved online in advance.

In Japan, in a future not so far away, a nuclear event so devastating has taken place that the population needs to be evacuated. Who is permitted to be evacuated is determined with ratings: if you have a high rating, you get to leave. If you have a low rating, you have to stay – even if that means serious exposure to the radioactivity.

Abandoned by her family, Tania (Bryerly Long) lives on radioactively contaminated land. Only a humanoid robot, an android named Leona, remains living with the young woman as her “roommate.” Meanwhile, more and more friends and neighbors are permitted to evacuate. Tania holds out, aware that her death is drawing near. Leona is her only source of comfort. The robot stands at Tania’s side, and helps the gravely ill woman with motherly advice, trying to cheer her up. As Tania hardens emotionally, the android seems to reveal more and more human qualities.

The director of the 2015 film is Kôji Fukada. The film is based on a theatrical play co-written by robotics researcher Hiroshi Ishiguro and playwright Oriza Hirata.

An android as a best friend? The film Sayōnara“ explores the question of how human a robot can be. The Geminoid F robot plays an important supporting role in the film. Photo: Tokyo International Film Festival
An android as a best friend? The film Sayōnara“ explores the question of how human a robot can be. The Geminoid F robot plays an important supporting role in the film. Photo: Tokyo International Film Festival
The film will be shown in English, and the accompanying discussion will also be held in English. The discussants – Dr. Ishiguro and Dr. Ritter – have personally known each other for many years. Professor Dr. Helge Ritter of Bielefeld University is an expert in neuroinformatics and is known for his research on manual intelligence and tactile robot hands. Professor Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University develops robots with an extremely human appearance. On 24 October, the next day after Science Cinema, Dr. Ishiguro will give a keynote lecture at the CITEC Conference 2019. The two-day conference called “Cognitive Interaction Technology Meets AI” commemorates 12 years of research at the Cluster of Excellence CITEC. At the end of October, the Excellence Initiative funding will be coming to an end. As an institute of Bielefeld University, however, CITEC will continue on with its research on intelligent technical systems – innovating technology that adapts to its human users and provides assistance both in daily life and in the workplace.

Dr. Ipke Wachsmuth, emeritus professor of artificial intelligence at Bielefeld University, will host the cinema evening.

“Science Cinema Special” is organized by the Cluster of Excellence CITEC in cooperation with Bielefeld Marketing and Kamera Filmukunsttheater (address: Feilenstraße 4 in Bielefeld).  

More information:
Reserve tickets online (free)
CITEC Conference 2019

Contact:
Jörg Heeren, Bielefeld University
CITEC Cluster of Excellence / CITEC Office
Telephone: +49 521 106-6562
Email: jheeren@uni-bielefeld.de 

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