Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Brave New World at Newport Public Library

Director Ted Smith has unveiled plans for Phase III of improvements at the Newport Public Library. “Now that we are finishing up Phase II, I’m thrilled to announce the biggest change of all—robots!"

To cut down on the expense of salaries and benefits, the library will be replacing their staff with humanoid robots. ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories in Japan has been creating prototypes, which are ready to hit the mass market.  Smith spoke to their director, Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro, and verified that he is able to fit the library into his production schedule.

Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro (center back) and three of his creations.
Smith went on to explain more of the process, “To ease the transition for our patrons, we will model the robots on our staff. Robots will be created using casts of staff members, and will be able to imitate body and facial movements, and reproduce their voices.”

“It’s unfortunate for staff that they’ll have to find new jobs, but we are mandated by City Hall to make the best use of our limited resources,” Smith said. The robot installation is expected to be complete by April 1, 2016.

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