Some of you laughed at South Korea's bellicose and seemingly unrealistic plans for 100% robot market penetration by 2020, but we wouldn't rule 'em out. Especially not since the Ministry of Information and Communication, which originally made said claim, will begin placing 1,000 wheeled, cell-phone controlled automatons -- dubbed URCs, or ubiquitous robotic companions -- into households and kindergartens this fall as a trial run for new robot technologies. The URCs will do the usual handling of domestic tasks as we might expect (and some we might not have seen coming, like cleaning rooms and reading books to children), as well the usual hanging out, taking care of pets (the real kind), and perform a little light sentry duty. The only thing at all disconcerting about any of this is the fact that unlike normal household droids, these URCs will be operated wirelessly from a central computing center ala I, Robot. Even though central robot behavior processing is what will supposedly get get the cost down to between $1,000 and $2,000 for one of these units, you'll never know exactly what your URC phoning home to the Ministry of Information and Communication about.
Korea to test 1,000 remote-controlled domestic robots
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