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Gatebox: the Japanese Amazon Echo manages the house and is your geisha

Forget Amazon Echo, Cortana and even Siri: Gatebox comes from Japan and the concept of virtual personal assistant takes on a completely different meaning. No more abstract and sexually neutral representations: in the Gatebox the assistant a beautiful girl, too young, characterized by strong manga connotations, blue hair and skimpy clothes included.

Like Amazon Echo and other systems integrated with the home automation system, Gatebox also manages voice temperature and home heating, switching lights on and off, controls robot vacuum cleaners and more via voice commands. But the most disturbing functions of the Japanese Amazon Echo are shown in the presentation video that we report in this article. Gatebox not only wakes the user up in the morning and reminds him of the weather forecast to avoid unpleasant surprises, but he constantly communicates with the owner via an iPhone and Android app.

The virtual assistant who has a name, surname and also a very specific personality, sends messages to the user wishing a good working day, then in the afternoon or evening an invitation to return home early. The consequence of all this, and hence our concern, that the user seems to establish emotional communication with Azuma Hikari, this is the name of the manga assistant. She in her twenties, 1.5 meters tall, loves cooking fried eggs, greedy for peanuts and donuts, hates insects and naturally also has a dream: to become a heroine to help people who work a lot. A dedicated website has even been built for her: the user can choose between two voices, one more acute and youthful than the other, suggesting that when Gatebox is available you can choose different virtual assistants with different personalities and characteristics.

This sort of futuristic Amazon Echo, with integrated projector and female personality, more than a hi-tech dream device may seem like a real nightmare arising from loneliness, frenetic rhythms and the explosion of single people in Japan and beyond. As PCMag points out, it seems that the pre-orders will start shortly: in Japan you need to shell out about 2,600 dollars, for those who buy from the USA the price rises to almost 3,000 dollars but you have to wait until December 2017.

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