There’s apparently a shortage of English teachers in South Korea, but the Philippines has tons of them. You’d think the easy solution would be to bring the teachers to South Korea, but they’ve come up with a different solution: they’re having the teachers teach from the Philippines through robots sporting Caucasian faces.
Yep, the Korea Institute of Science and Technology has developed the Engkey, a white egg-shaped bot topped with the face of a woman. The system uses facial recognition software to sense the facial movements of the teacher in the Philippines and translate them to the bot’s Emma-Watson-like avatar. The teachers can make the robots move around, dance and watch children through their cameras…their creepy, creepy cameras.
So far 29 of the robots are being used in a pilot program at 21 schools throughout South Korean and the government spent 1.58 billion Won ($1.37 million US) on the project. Which sounds like a lot of money, but when you consider how weirded out those kids in the photo look…it’s money well spent.