'Robot' at Russian tech show turns out to be man in suit

Pauline Gross
December 14, 2018

Video footage of "Boris the robot" at the Proektoriya youth tech forum for school pupils has done the rounds on the internet but independent journalists spotted that something was amiss with the supposedly "artificial intelligence".

A robot that appeared on Russian State Television as an example of the country's technological prowess has been revealed to be nothing more than a man in a suit. BBC reports that in a pic shared on social media, the person's neck was visible from inside the robot costume. "Boris the Robot has already learned to dance, and not badly at that".

TJournal discovered that the man is wearing an Alyosha the robot suit made by a company called Show Robots.

The website also questioned why there was so little existing information on such an advanced project, and how developers had managed to develop the machine so quickly, considering the costs and intense research associated with such projects.

The robot costume can be bought for 250,000 rouble (£2,975).

Non-state Russian media jumped on the issue, with MBKh Media, media organization founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, publishing an image of an actor in a suit ahead of the technology event.

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"It's entirely possible one of these [students] could dedicate himself to robotics", one anchor said.

"At the forum there's the opportunity to see state-of-the-art robots", the presenter said as the apparent automaton danced on stage.

The state TV company has since claimed that it never suggested Boris was a real robot.

Boris's robotic voice then said, "I know mathematics well but I also want to learn to draw", before he began dancing to music.

Later, Russia-24 reportedly disappeared from the channel's YouTube channel, but it was brought back live Wednesday.

Other reports by GizPress

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