Japan unveils virtual wife for single men
jamuna news desk: Last week, a Japanese company called Gatebox opened pre-orders for a new breed of virtual assistant. While Alexa and Google Home are a bit lacking in the personality department, Gatebox users get to interact with a 3-D anime character called Azumi Hikari. She’s being pitched as both a handy helper and a pseudo-girlfriend.
Yes, it’s icky (kimoi in Japanese). But it’s more than that. The Gatebox encapsulates the social isolation that has strangled Japan’s once-vibrant economy.
If that sounds like a stretch, just look at the bleak promotional video Gatebox released last Tuesday. It begins as a Gatebox/Hikari wakes a young man, informs him of the weather, and gets him to work on schedule. So far so good though there’s a hint of something weird when he turns to tell her/it goodbye.
Things get really depressing, though, as the Gatebox/Hikari texts the young man throughout the day , even encouraging him longingly to “Come home early.” When he finally calls it a day, he’s sure to let “her” know, and she replies with an excited “Yay!”
Finally, as he lies down to sleep, the young man shares his true feelings with the appliance. You know, while I was on my way home, I thought it feels great that someone’s waiting for me.