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This article was published on December 17, 2016

    Gatebox just made the world’s saddest AI assistant

    Gatebox just made the world’s saddest AI assistant
    Bryan Clark
    Story by

    Bryan Clark

    Former Managing Editor, TNW

    Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

    Gatebox AI is a departure from typical digital assistants. While the Google’s and Apple’s of the world scrutinize the minutiae for outside-the-box solutions to humanize their offerings, Gatebox said ‘fuck the box’ — perhaps literally — and shoved a blue-haired teen anime girl inside. I don’t know about you, but the thought of giving a digital assistant a personified form and locking her in a glass cylinder sounds less like innovation and more like a sex crime.

    The device uses CGI to project your submissive unnamed assistant onto the front of the device, and make it look like she’s trapped waiting patiently inside. Gatebox uses a camera and sensors to detect movement, as well as the owners face. You’ll want her to know you’re serious about putting the lotion in the basket, after all.

    As far as usability, Engadget reports it’s essentially a stripped-down Amazon Echo. In other words, you’re not spending 298,000 yen ($2,500) for an improved version of Alexa. Essentially, you’re getting the world’s most expensive roommate once you factor in the upfront cost and the fact she’s not going to be splitting any bills. If you’re looking for companionship, though, maybe this is the answer. I’d suggest a dog, but you know, to each their own.

    It’s not all bad; some parts of the promo video are next-level depressing too — like this one: