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EngKey telepresence robot teaches English to Koreans by way of the Philippines

Joseph L. Flatley
December 28, 2010
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You know, for all the hubbub we've been hearing about le robots (the robots), you'd think we'd see them put to better uses than chasing our pets and killing people. Right? Right. Well, the best use we can think of is education, and that's exactly what they're doing at an elementary school in Daegu, South Korea. Developed by the Korea Institute of Science of Technology (KIST), EngKey is just under three-and-a-half feet high, features a video display for a face, and seems hell bent on taking all those "teach English in Korea" jobs away from shiftless American college grads looking to postpone responsibility for one or two more desperate years. There are currently twenty-nine such devices, which -- get this -- are actually operated remotely by teachers in the Philippines. Is this the end result of globalism? Not quite yet: for the time being, the robots are still too cumbersome to operate and expensive to justify putting into production. But who knows? Maybe someday, kids.

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