Clips, Foreign

South Korea To Build Robot Parks

Weird Asia News, April 29, 2008.

If you’ve liked watching commander Data, the positronic-brained second officer in the science-fiction series, “Star Trek,” then, you’re going to love this.

The South Korean government plans to build two robot-themed parks close to Seoul by the year 2013, one in the bustling seaport of Incheon; another in Masan.

The ambitious project, the first of its kind, is estimated to cost a whopping $1.6 billion and will feature an array of robotic marvels that’ll allow visitors to interact with tomorrow’s machines.

According to reports published on the Web site Korea.com, the two cities are being developed as futuristic hubs, poised to become the county’s Silicon Valley of robotics.

Robotics is considered one of South Korea’s booming industries and has grown by leaps and bounds over the past five years, recording a 40 percent jump since the year 2003, the site reported.

To ensure that the robotics sector continues to see such accelerated growth rates, recently, the government drew up what is known as the Robot Ethics Code, a code of ethics that’ll prevent android abuse by humans as well as the other way round. It’s basically a how-to manual for both robot-makers and robot-users that tells them how to relate to robots.

Considering that the government aims to install a robot in every household by the year 2020, perhaps that isn’t such a quixotic idea.

What’s more, in a recent book, “Love and Sex with Robots,” a British artificial intelligence researcher, David Levy, predicts that robots will advance to such phenomenal levels in the coming years that it’ll be possible for humans to even marry them by 2050.

That may turn out to be a pipe dream (or not).

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